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Like a G would 

The finale in Jay Mayne’s #ChopTrees series sharpens the focus on the east coast and shows off Mayne’s strengths.

click to enlarge Relaxin’ with Jay Mayne - CURTIS ROTHNEY

Over the last few years, Mayne's #ChopTrees mixtapes have turned him into a brand. His newest project, Chop Trees Over Everything, drops September 18 with a digital and physical release. Coughing from the chronic, Mayne says he's been changing his game. He considers this album the finale in the #ChopTrees series, recorded at Halifax MC DJ IV's studio and at his own home studio.

"With this one, I stopped writing halfway through it, does that make sense?" Mayne says. "I just started to freestyle. The writing process was boring so I said I'm just gonna do me. I was vibing out to the beat and doing it how it's supposed to be done. And because of that it feels better, it flows better."

Mayne's got a way with words. His smoky gravel voice bounces from one beat to another like a boss. Now 28, he started rapping at 13 when he contributed to record.

"So I did it and my friends were like, 'Yo, this shit is dope,'" he says. "So then I always played with rap, but I never really took it seriously until I took it seriously, know what I mean? There was never a point where I was like, 'I'm gonna do this.' It was more like, 'I'm doing this.'"

A longtime face at ProSkates and a WESC activist, Mayne met DJ IV through skateboarding and joined the IV League, a collective of east coast artists that include IV, Al Boogie and Matty Boh. He then started working with Cam Smith and Tyler Ross on music and video production (check out tons on YouTube), and he began booking shows while releasing his #ChopTrees mixtapes for free download.

"Giving out music at the start of your career is a super good investment for the longevity of your career," he says. "And people are really into it." The mixtapes initiated the #ChopTrees movement, a term that can mean either selling marijuana or smoking it, which has in turn distinguished his work.

"It's well-known that I'm the weed rapper, however you wanna label it," he says, laughing. "But it was just a song that I made and people started saying it. Like, chop trees? What the fuck? All right, cool."

But there's more to Mayne than blazing. "Weed isn't an essential part of rap culture, even though a lot of people who rap smoke weed. Everybody smokes weed," he says. "And I enjoy a wide range of candy, chocolate, fast food and ginger ale. But if you break down the songs, they're not always about it. There are dope hooks and beats, too." Which is evident in his collaboration with international and local producers.

"People should listen to this. It represents us well. Even though I'm from Dartmouth and I rep that fully, Chop Trees Over Everything represents the whole east coast of Canada," he says. "There are east coast artists featured, everything's east coast about it. As far as hip-hop music goes here, this is a good representation." Keep an ear out about his release party next month; Mayne is coming up.

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