By Harrison Samphir
3Peat is the most exciting hip-hop crew to come out of Winnipeg in some time. Following in a long line of local groups including Different Shades of Black (Shadez), Frek Sho, Farm Fresh and The Lytics, the trio consisting of Steve, Egg and Dill The Giant are determined to make their mark on a city where emceeing is a proud, if overlooked, tradition. They dropped their self-titled debut EP on September 16, 2016. At seven tracks, it’s packed with lyrical gems, addictive hooks and strong guest appearances backed by tight production completed mostly in-house. With a likeness to the pass-the-mic chemistry and interplay of legends like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, 3Peat shines with laid-back charisma and an unpretentious demeanour reinforced by the honest expressions in their songs. I was joined by the group’s three members and their manager, Anthony Carvalho, in the Stylus office to discuss their work, inspirations, and big plans for the future.
Stylus Magazine: I’ll start with a straightforward question: How did you guys come together and start making music?
Steve: I feel like the story changes every time (laughs). I had a little studio station with a few homies in the West End. It was in this old storage building. When you walked in it looked like Storage Wars. And upstairs they used to push papers for whatever the building used to be. It was this old office space that we just converted into one of our studios. We had a walk-in booth. It was tiny. Maybe a quarter of the size of this room [200 square feet]. And just through making music, you know, through time, we started hanging out more, meeting in social circles, meeting at the Pyramid and freestyling with one another. They [Dill and Egg] came to the studio and we started banging out tracks just because. Soon we became 3Peat.
Stylus: When did you get into rap music?
Steve: I think I started paying attention to rap when I was 14 years-old. That’s when you start realizing what influences you and what you like, when you start building your character.
Dill: I’d say around 12, 13, or 14 [years-old].
Stylus: Did you grow up with any local hip-hop music?
Steve: Oh absolutely. Obviously Peanuts & Corn, Foultone was really coming up when we were in our teenage years. Cutdown, Grand Analog, Shades [Different Shades of Black]. We’ve been lucky to do shows and cut tracks with some of them. It’s really cool, the whole full circle of things, the OGs are kind of showing us it’s cool to do it, telling us what we’re doing is dope. So it feels good. It feels like nothing but positive.
Egg: I always say, that’s one thing about Winnipeg. You get an incredible amount of support for what you do. It’s very real. People genuinely support you or want to get to know you, and get behind what you’re doing because they think it’s dope. I think the Prairies and central Canada is very unique. The influences aren’t as heavy when you go to places like Toronto or Montreal, you know. I feel we’re still very underground, but growing. People can put themselves in their own boxes.
Stylus: The EP has an East Coast sound filled with boom-bap breaks, tight hooks and looping instrumental segments. Do you like being compared to classic hip-hop?
Steve: We’re going to make whatever we’re going to make. Whatever happens, happens. If it so happens that that’s the sound that comes out, that’s what we were feeling and that’s what it’s going to be. It’s not contrived, it’s not forced.
Egg: We revolve around the word ‘organic.’ Everything we do is just organic. Anything that comes out of any type of session that we have, we’re all vibing together on every track. People can put us in any category they want. That’s cool. But I believe we have our own sound.
Stylus: You went the G-funk route with melodic synths and heavier bass on “Bout It”, while other tracks have a more sample driven sound. Who handles production on the EP?
Steve: Most of the stuff we’ve done in-house. Dylan’s [Dill the Giant] been touching beats and on the EP I did half the tracks. The album is broken into half-3Peat, half-solo endeavours. The tracks we did solo were tracks we’d been working on on our own, and we wanted to showcase that. 3Peat isn’t just a group, it’s three individuals who come together to make 3Peat.
Steve: Yeah, it’s like Voltron. Arm Leg Leg Arm Head. (Laughs)
Egg: And the reason Dill and I started to get into producing is because of Steve. When we started really conceptualizing the EP, Steve was laying down all the beats. Now we can gather together. The next 3Peat record will be produced by 3Peat.
Stylus: You worked with Kalliane Brémault on the record. She’s currently teaching dance at Studio 393, a non-profit youth-led arts studio located in downtown Winnipeg. Tell me about that.
Egg: I’ve know her since time. I used to b-boy, and she’s been in the dance scene for years, and she’s been doing everything. All types of styles. So we came up together. I didn’t know she sang, but I heard her once and I was like Wow, you’ve got such a soulful voice. “Jive” was one of those joints where I thought, I need Kalliane on this one. It was just a call away. And there you go.
Steve: Before music, we’re all friends. And we’re all one call away. Our extended family like Kalliane, we’ve all known each for such a long time. And that’s something we keep as a group. We keep it in our house and our family.
Stylus: Egg – your EP, Alverstone, dropped November 27. What was your goal with the project? How is different (or not) than what you’ve done with 3Peat? What stories are you trying to tell on this disc?
Egg: This is a complete side project, but I wanted these guys [Dill and Steve] to be the only features on it. I wanted to explain the story of where I’m from, growing up in the West End. With Alverstone, I wanted to share what’s been going on in my life over the last few years, personal or otherwise, moments from my past, and bring it out sonically. I’ve wanted to drop an album since high school, but it was setback after setback. I never had a solid crew to do it with. I’m blessed to have the team I have.
Dill: I heard what these guys did together, the “When the Dough is Right” joint [on Alverstone]. I wasn’t at the studio when they recorded it, and I got straight up salty! (Laughs) I was so pissed that you guys did this greatness without me, so I wrote this dope verse and said Yo, I want to be a part of this. Later I got on the track “Still Movin’.”
Steve: The dynamic between all three of us, individually and together, is different, and they all bear a difference in what you’re hearing, the vibe and aesthetics of the tracks.
Anthony: I think an important thing to note, too, is that 3Peat started on stage before it was ever on record. So we’re at home on stage more so than anywhere else. This 3Peat EP that’s out now, has existed to us for two years on stage. We’ve been playing other stuff on top of that, that’s not even recorded, for the last while now.
Stylus: Are you working on a full-length LP?
Steve: Oh, obviously. (Laughs) It comes naturally. We got lots in the chamber.
Anthony: I think we’ve done this twice now, though. I think we’ve given you exactly the right amount, two times. With the first EP and then Egg’s EP, you get to the end and you say What?! I want more. I think that’s the win more so than No, y’all should not have done this double album!
Egg: That’s the fun part about making records. You get to cypher out what you don’t like, but that stuff could become something else later. If you have some loose tracks that didn’t make the cut, it’s can still be dope. That’s what happening with Alverstone, and much of the 3Peat EP. Obviously we were very meticulous in figuring it out, but with my solo album, it was really tough. Listening to five playlists I’d made and deciding what fits.
Stylus: Which Winnipeg artists would you like to worth with on future projects?
Egg: Go down the list. (Laughs)
Steve: Aside from trying to keep it mostly in house—through our homies and people we’ve been working with like CrabSkull [producer]—there are lots of people we want to collaborate with.
Egg: Keisha Booker, is someone I’d love to work with. Joanna Majoko, who now lives in Toronto, is an amazing vocalist. Even it’s just us featuring on one of her tracks, a little back and forth, that would be nice.
Steve: Begonia is dope. We had been talking about swapping beats and doing some music together. That would be really cool.
Stylus: Without thinking about it for more than a few seconds, what’s your favourite hip-hop album of all time?
Steve: Illmatic [Nas].
Dill: Ready to Die [Notorious B.I.G.].
Egg: Reasonable Doubt [Jay-Z].
Anthony: Capital Punishment [Big Pun].
Stylus: How about your favourite hip-hop record of 2016?
Steve: I’m going to have to say The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad.
Egg: I was gonna say that! I guess I’ll go with Bas, Too High to Riot. People sleeping on Bas, man, that shit is ill!
Dill: Blank Face LP by Schoolboy Q was the one for me.
Steve: BadBadNotGood’s IV was also good, if you count that as hip-hop.
Stylus: You’re playing Canadian Music Week 2017 in Toronto. Tell me more about that opportunity.
Anthony: We applied last year but we didn’t have music out. So I think it helped that our name was in circulation. We’ve been in the mouths and ears of a lot of people lately, and I think that’s something that’s helped us a lot. We applied after we had the album out. That was obviously strategic. We’re #7 on the college charts right now. Those kinds of things, having the check marks where they need to be, really help. It’s really good news.
This article has been edited for clarity and length.