Eye on the Arts: TRP

University of Windsor electrical engineering graduate, Ahmad Shawky (a.k.a. TRP), is helping to put Windsor on the map as a hip-hop hot spot.

With his diverse first release, My Dedication, available at HMV, iTunes, Napster, and Rhapsody, success is sweet for the once shy Shawky, who overcame his fears at a grade school talent show where he was determined to prove those who didn’t believe in him wrong.

“No one believed that I would do it, but their doubts just made me want to do it even more, not to prove them wrong, but to prove that I could do something that I really set my mind to,” admits Shawky, whose talent helped the cover band he fronted to win the competition.

From there, Shawky became the lead singer in a rock band throughout high school. “Even though the band I was in played punk music, the lyrics I wrote favoured the lyrical flow and rhyme schemes of hip-hop, which most people saw as strange since I barely listened to hip-hop at the time,” Shawky explains. Shawky’s band members eventually drifted apart, and he stopped producing music to concentrate on his education.

“I decided to become an engineer because I have always seen the importance of keeping both sides of the brain active,” explains Shawky, who strives to be both honest and versatile in his work.

Surprisingly, it was John Mayer’s first album that interested Shawky in becoming a hip-hop artist. “The music was just so honest compared to a lot of the music at the time, which wasn’t really talking about anything,” says Shawky. “I wanted to bring that type of honesty to my own music.” That’s when Shawky, tired of dealing with the scheduling conflicts and compromises of being in a band, began to produce his own music.

Shawky got his start in hip-hop music when he started attending open mic nights at Club Extreme.

“Around this time, a lot of artists used to perform there including Academy, G.L.O.C., and Richy Nix. I showed up to the club, by myself. I didn’t know anyone in the club at all and I didn’t have anyone to perform with, but I just took the stage by myself. This was the first time I had performed since my last band split so I was nervous as hell, but people were really feeling my music,” Shawky says.

My Dedication is the first album in TRP’s trilogy. His second album, My Execution, is halfway completed and will be followed by his third album, My Conclusion. My Dedication follows TRP as he becomes the artist he wants to become. My Execution is the action of his dreams and My Conclusion is a collection of his observations after the execution of his dreams.

TRP includes a multitude of musical genres in his work. “I’ve listened to so many different styles of music my whole life so I feel that I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I only focused on one style,” explains Shawky. “Hip-hop music has always been about taking other types of music and blending them into something new.” TRP wants to bring more honesty and originality to music and hopes that people will develop an open mind about listening to hip-hop music and understand that different styles of music can coexist in harmony.

“My future plans are to continue to make the type of music I personally like and to keep pushing the boundaries of what people think hip-hop music is,” says Shawky.

Catch TRP on December 8 at The Coach, featuring TRP performing with a band. “Even if you have never been to a hip-hop concert, I’m certain that you will really enjoy what I’ve got planned for this show,” assures Shawky, who will also be giving away free stuff and giving the audience a sneak peak at his second album, My Execution.

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