Twenty three degrees high and rising
Someone who doesn’t know what Nate Husser looks like would have had a hard time spotting him at the launch of his EP on January 31st. Blending in with his crew, mingling by the merchandise table, Husser looks no different from those surrounding him at Apt. 200. The Montreal-born rapper does not go out of his way to seek the spotlight; it has come naturally over the last five years of his career.
And the spotlight is deserved. Fresh off the release of his newest project, 23+, Husser has now completed the third part of his mixtape trilogy. Preceded by minus 23 and 6˚, the thematic series likens the artist to one of his long time idols, LeBron James. While minus 23 and 23+ relate to James’s departure and return to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Husser longs for a similar experience. He hopes to go to Los Angeles to perfect his craft and return to Montreal as our beloved king, what could be the catalyst for the city’s hip hop fans wishing to see their city at Toronto’s calibre.
When asked why he was leaving for L.A., Husser said: “To sell cookies, man, cause there’s more people out there that eat cookies than over here. So I’m going where people buy and eat cookies more. My type, my flavour of cookies. Cause here they don’t really eat my flavour of cookies.”
Husser’s metaphor describes a recuring problem that Montreal rappers find themselves dealing with. With no face to represent the city’s sound, they struggle to establish a name for themselves that reverberates on a national, and eventually global, scale. Husser believes he needs to market his cookies in California in hopes that the music industry takes a bite.
Back at Apt. 200, Husser manages to pack the floor with supportive fans, proving capable of bringing out a Saturday night crowd on a Thursday evening. While the fans may have expected a modest set from behind the DJ booth, the rapper instead turns it into his own stage.
Wearing his yellow custom Huss merchandise hoodie and matching Nike SF Air Force 1 ‘Dynamic Yellow’ shoes, Husser performs from on top of the DJ booth and holds the ceiling pipes to maintain balance. Although 23+ only came out less than 20 hours before the show, lyrics are being rapped back to him. As his over six foot frame towers over those below, fans show support for their hometown hero as he prepares to embark on a journey that will not only further his career, but Montreal’s reputation in the hip hop community.
“Man, I’m just doing what I do,” said Husser when asked about his plan of attack once he gets to L.A. “Gotta be the best. I mean, not be the best, but do the best for myself and just be my best self, and do the best I can. Every single day, no matter what I do. Keep moving forward, and keep moving smart. It’s gotten me this far.”