Although eager to win titles and sharpen his competitive rap edge, something about Ottawa hip-hop artist S.C.R.I.P.T.’s drive to pair words and tell stories goes slightly beyond ruthlessly trampling competition or a hunger for hip-hop fame. Although now a career for Loren D. Whittingham, a pen put to paper, filtering dark thoughts into meaningful pages of prose meant much, much more during an adversity and abuse-filled upbringing in foster care. It meant survival, and it meant an escape.
“Music and writing brought me to life,” S.C.R.I.P.T. says. “And now I’m not afraid to rap to or connect with those who are afraid too.”
S.C.R.I.P.T, broken down to mean “silent cries relived in painful tears”, immigrated from Jamaica to Canada where he was bounced throughout foster homes starting at age twelve—suffering an array of physical and emotional abuse. After painful years spent developing his craft, Whittingham eventually found his way onto spoken word stages – winning three consecutive Capital Slam titles and garnering attention for his prose. Before long, his ability to command an audience through storytelling became increasingly more evident – and after a handful of hip-hop open mics and introducing grittier instrumentals behind his lyrics, hip-hop was the next move on his board.
“These days I rap like a sport. I freestyle every day, write every day, talk into an audio recorder in the middle of the street,” he laughs. “That’s what keeps you above the rest – being prepared for that challenge that might come at you.”
And from the small seed of a vulnerable poet has grown a natural performer. One that has previously played substantial festivals and stages including Winterlude and Canada Day in Ottawa, and within the next month will hit Winterfest alongside DL Incognito, Philly Moves, Spitten Image and a whole other roll of Canadian rhymesters.
“It’s one thing to write, but it’s also the tone you carry and energy you bring,” he says regarding his stage presence. “I really sweat up there; if I’m opening I’m determined to have the crowd forget they came to see the main act.”
S.C.R.I.P.T. credits his voracious appetite for performing and song writing to his innate creative energy, but also players like Open Disclosure Music who have dug a new kind of motivation out of the wordsmith – submitting him for involvement and potential nomination in the 2012 Juno Awards to be held in Ottawa.
“With what I’m doing now, I feel myself blossoming. I thought I was rising, and now I’m flying,” he says. “They cut me open and I’m bleeding.”
Bleeding into new mediums as well. If poetry and a budding hip-hop career aren’t enough, the artist has dipped his pen into other pop culture ink – recently nabbing a starring role in the Parktown Production pilot Grinder, geared towards HBO Canada, as well as Canada’s Got Talent. With Winterfest around the corner (and full coverage from In A Nutshell as sponsors of the event), S.C.R.I.P.T. anticipates the gathering of Ottawa talent will put the capital where he believes it belongs in Canada’s hip-hop world – at the top.
“I look forward to reminding the other artists just to soak it all up. This is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our city, so we better give it all we’ve got.”
For more information on Winterfest, visit http://winterfestottawa.ca/. Stay tuned for more artist profiles from in a nutshell!