The Making of "Wish I Could"
“Wish I Could” is constructed and produced by me, Canadian producer Dub J. The song features seven prominent Toronto artists using their voices to bring awareness to the gun violence plaguing the city.
This record marks an extremely important milestone in Canadian Hip-Hop. It's a bold statement made alongside intergenerational voices to convey a powerful unified message to the people of Toronto at a time when many lives continue to be lost to senseless gun violence.
This is the story of how this song came to be and what it took to pull it off... it's an incredible timeline of stars aligning and being in the right places at the right time.
It’s been quite the journey so bear with me.
The story of “Wish I Could” really starts with JD Era and I making the video for Drop Top in December of 2018.
Sarah Penman, now known as Jayne Cobain, was casted as my counterpart in Drop Top. She got onto our radar mainly due to the controversy around her relationship and breakup with rapper Kidd Buu.
Her name is loosely tied to this project. Remember it.
Fast forward to the beginning of September 2019. I had just released “48 Bars” with Merkules and it was doing extremely well.
At the time, I decided I wanted to try something different with my music and made some melodic, emo-type beats. I started looking for the right artist to make this sort of record with.
I had been hearing about Dutch Revz, another Toronto-based artist, for some time and so I decided to follow him on Instagram to connect. I ended up finding out he's in a relationship with Jayne Cobain — the same artist from my Drop Top video! Small world.
When I have a project idea I usually give JD Era, my longtime friend, a call. I told Era about my plans to get Dutch on the record. Era tells me that Dutch's managers are Chippy, with whom Era went to school, and Littles, who I got to know during my come-up.
Littles was in a group called The Offense with Aristo and a few other artists while I was working heavily with Wise Guys (including JD Era, Jonny Roxx, Ken Masters and Bishop Brigante). Drake was also part of Wise Guys. HipHopCanada vets will forever remember the infamous 2006 beef between The Offense and Wise Guys that led to the diss track "Good Riddance". That track was, arguably, the first real W for Drake at a time he was trying to shake his Degrassi image. Eventually, the beef was squashed and the rest is history.
Era hit up Chippy to let him know I wanted to work with Dutch. Chippy and I had an opportunity to talk and he was on board with the idea. Before we started working, he wanted me to connect with his label partner [Littles] as Dutch is signed to his label, Elite Choice.
That same day, Littles called me and right away we started laughing about the old HipHopCanada days and our crazy come-ups. After catching up about married life, our kids and music, he assured me that the record would happen, that it had his blessing and encouraged me to move forward with everything else I was doing.
I acted quickly.
I sent over a beat pack to get Dutch to choose from one of the records I had in mind for him. A week or so went by and Dutch hadn’t been able to find the right fit, so I locked myself in the studio and created a new beat. Dutch hit me back with a reference recorded on his phone.
I told him, "That's the one".
We worked to get everything recorded, mixed, mastered and finally needed to pick a release date. Our release couldn’t interfere with any plans that Dutch and I already had.
I had my “House of Mirrors” album with Young Stitch being released on October 7th.
We agreed on an October 28th release date. Our record titled "I Don't Belong Here" was done and submitted for release