Hero’s latest single arrives in advance of the forthcoming EP, Gold Collection, due out in May.
Another new single from Stephen Hero? Another EP on the way? It’s true. This guy is unstoppable.
Stephen Hero creates “aggressively working class hip hop.” His words. And that’s probably the best description there is for what he does. Aggressive, in the sense that he seems to have a new track to share every couple of weeks. Relentless could also fit. Always fresh and always trying something new, each new track he releases finds him exploring a new avenue of sound or working with new collaborators. His constant evolution is on full display.
The working class bit? That comes from his Saint John roots. Just as each new single follows a new creative path, each new song from Hero seems to dig deeper into both the perceived and the actual identities of his community, and how these traits have shaped who he is as an artist and a resident of New Brunswick’s most historically rich city.
His new single, 40 FT Limo, riffs on one of the city’s beloved auditory icons, Take The Bus, a jingle used to promote Saint John Transit sometime back in the 90s. While the jingle wasn’t created specifically for the harbour city, its impact continues to resonate with residents from that era and has since become as much a part of Saint John’s image as the Loyalist Man, the Reversing Falls or standing downwind from the pulp mill during peak production.
On 40 FT Limo, Hero handles complete production duties, for the first time pairing his own beats with his own lyrics.
“The song basically discusses the issue of success separating you from the people you came up with,” said Hero. “How money can cause people to forget who they are and where they came from, and to feel like they are suddenly different from the people they always were. It uses a pretty specific time in my life to discuss that, and the interpolation of the bus jingle is appropriate since I was spending like three or more hours a day on the bus during that period.”
Hero’s production gives a strong nod to early hip hop through its surface simplicity while a closer listen reveals a greater level of detail embedded deep within the looped phrase he’s created.
Leading with lines from Easy-E and Lauryn Hill, Hero’s lyrical delivery is as sharp as ever, always reflecting the imbalance of class structures, the rich and the poor, and one way street that leads that relationship.
“I decided to make each verse start with a famous rap quote and then stay with that rhyme for the entire verse. Nerdy for sure,” he said.
Stephen Hero – Gold Collection – EP Release | May 13 | The Cap | Fredericton | 8:30 p.m. | View Event