The Hamilton-born rapper uses music as a form of therapy to heal from his troubled youth.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario to a single mother with three kids, Kevin Williamson, or Ktriggs, lived through poverty as a child.
"My life has been anything but privileged," said Ktriggs. "The poverty and struggle helped to shape me into the man I am today, and is the main reason for my expression of self-worth and love in my music."
Ktriggs found an interest in music at six years-old.
"From the very young age of six, I was already on stage- I enjoyed being part of the show," said Ktriggs. "Although this was more acting and hosting, it paved the way for my passion for the performing arts. When I was in my early years my mother showed me the classic hip-hop and rap groups NWA, A Tribe Called Quest, and also the Big L and Tupac songs still played today. I fell in love with the old school art of boom bap and the lyrical prowess. These guys were pioneers of hip-hop and the boom bap style, and had a big influence on how I shaped my own style as an artist."
Ktriggs started creating music as a form of therapy after suffering from relentless bullying in school.
"It was around the time that I was the victim of a lot of bullying at school, where kids would ridicule me for just being the way I was- very energetic and rambunctious," said Ktriggs. "So I took to writing to express my emotions and try to understand myself more and learn to cope. Over the years I became really passionate about free-styling, in high school my friends and I would battle each other."
"During one of my freestyle battles in high school one of my friends said, "He's a trigger, he goes off!" So I came up with Ktriggs- Kevin my first name, and 'triggs' was my way of shortening the trigger aspect of my aggressive style."
The rapper forced himself to grow up at an early age. At just 14, Ktriggs was living on his own, paying his own bills, and working a full-time job while attending high school.
"This struggle was another inspiration for my music as I'm never satisfied with myself," said Ktriggs. "But I never forget how far I've come in so short of time- I'm 23 today."
A couple years ago, music helped lift Ktriggs out of a dangerous place.
"About two and a-half years ago, I fell into a deep depression and couldn't find happiness within myself," said Ktriggs. "That's when the music saved me. I took all the negative energy and everything that I thought had went wrong and I channeled it into my music. In 2018 I released my very first EP titled Come Up. This speaks volumes to everything I had gone through to get to that point, I had finally managed to find a purpose and a passion within myself that made me feel truly alive."
Williamson's first release as Ktriggs was his EP, Come Up.
"The Come Up tape consisted of five songs," said Ktriggs. "But the most memorable and personal song for me to perform was "Born to Be". This title speaks again to my character and my drive as an artist, as when I'm on stage I feel a certain serenity, but also intensity that I get nowhere else. This passion continues to drive me as I feel that I was born to make music, and represent the city the best I can."
In 2019, Ktriggs created the brand, "Freedom of Speech".
"My goal is to encourage everyone, not just rappers and other artists," said Ktriggs. "I aim to show everyone that it is not only your right to speak your mind, but your freedom. I make it my mission when I'm performing and making music to represent myself this way. It's all about bringing people together to be apart of something bigger- a movement. "Community over competition baby," is what I always say."
After finding support through Hamilton community groups, the artist wanted to give back, so he created 905 Fest.
"As a young boy in Hamilton I spent a lot of time at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club, later working there as a counsellor for youth," said Ktriggs. "The community and city of Hamilton has done so much to help me grow that I wanted to give back to the neighbourhood I came from. In 2019 under the Freedom of Speech brand I planned and hosted the first ever 905 Fest, with lots of help from community partners like the Kiwanis, the Tiger Cats, and other local businesses. The goal of 905 Fest was to bring together individuals and groups within the Hamilton area and work within the community. I spoke with plenty of organizations throughout the city and received many donations like food, drinks, and prizes for our raffle draw. I asked every vendor that came out for a donation towards Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club, and the raffle ticket funds were also donated. I wanted to show Hamilton that I have so much to offer it's citizens, not only music."
Ktriggs hoped to help other at-risk youth like himself.
"As a troubled youth myself, the goal was to raise awareness for the community, but also to show at-risk youth that they are not alone and there are services to help them," said Ktriggs. "Things I was unaware of when I was working 40 hours a week during high school to provide for myself. We brought out youth groups that specialize in transitional housing and assistance, such as Wesley Youth. We were also able to bring together a group of counsellors from Wesley and Kiwanis for a youth basketball game, as well as host an entire day of performances from artists all over the city. Not only hip-hop artists, but I also had female singers Arwen Roussel, Joanna Aswanni, a band called Weekend Escape, and Daniel King. Hip-hop artist Subztantial also performed, and I closed off the show with a performance."
905 Fest was a success, attracting more of an audience than Ktriggs expected.
"The turn out and amount of support was ten fold what I expected," said Ktriggs. "I'm not a youth centered organization or anything, but people stood behind me. Even LttheMonk and El Sancho Mc came out to sell some their own personal merch and give back to the youth."
Ktriggs recently dropped his first ever merch line.
"This past week I recently dropped my first lineup of Ktriggs official merchandise," said Ktriggs. "This is something I'm working to expand, and eventually have a whole line with a bunch of unique pieces available for purchase."
The hip-hop artist says to keep your eyes peeled, as he has new content coming out before you know it.
"Within a few weeks I have a brand new freestyle video coming out," said Ktriggs. "This is an a capella video that fixates on contemporary issues effecting us Canadians today, and how we're so ambivalent toward our American neighbours. My far-future goals are to use my music and brand to spread my message throughout Canada, and ultimately the world. Freedom of Speech is not only related to music but many aspects of the life we live, and no one should fear to speak their mind or truth. I just use music as a platform because it's the thing I am most passionate about."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)