St. Peter, Toronto hip-hop producer, wants music to be about struggle, not the party life.

Evan De Souza, Maya Akbay, Peter Heinrichs (St. Peter), Tichoan Tapawamba from Centennial College journalism.

by Maya Akbay

Peter Heinrichs, or St. Peter as he’s known in the hip-hop world, is an underground music producer who has potential to change the hip-hop world with his vision.

Heinrichs, 24,  is a Toronto musician with a love for creating hip-hop with a meaningful message behind it. He claims that with the way mainstream hip-hop music has evolved, none of the stuff he usually hears on the radio serves any other purpose than having fun and dancing.

“They kind of sucked the negative out of hip-hop and commercialized it,” he said, in an interview at Centennial College journalism in April. “I don’t agree with the message, or rather, the lack of the message.”

Heinrichs works with artists who convey their political and spiritual thoughts in the lyrics of their songs, and talk less about parties and having fun. He has worked with artists like Hell Razah, K.D.B. and Killah Priest.

“Everyone likes to have fun, but sometimes you want to listen to a song and be inspired,” he said, in an interview in April at Centennial College journalism school in Toronto. He believes there are good things that mainstream artists like Drake are doing, and he’s not against the “love songs’’ that Drake sings, but that he wants to keep working on “intellectual, politically uplifting music.”

When asked about how he feels about sharing his vision, Heinrichs said that it’s important to convey that everyone goes through a struggle, at one point or another.

“I have an understanding of certain things that I work hard not to be jaded by… I have an obligation to share that. I feel like that’s part of my duty in life,” said Heinrichs.

He comes from a middle class family with a good upbringing and, classical music training, and he has no hesitation to bring that to the table because he’s had struggles of his own.

“Whether you’re poor or rich, everyone struggles with something… I think what I’m here to do is become a middle-man between privileged and unprivileged people and bring them together,” he said.

One of the biggest struggles that Heinrich had to face as a kid was sitting in a classroom and trying to relate to everything that was trying to be taught to him at school. He ended up dropping out of high school to pursue his dream in the music industry.

“I hated school… I always wanted to learn about creative things and I was always conformed to do this and this,” said Heinrichs.

He says he doesn’t regret quitting school, but that he wants to go back to his classical piano training in the future, and work on movie scores.

“It’s important to look at fear in the face and do what you got to do, otherwise you’re just going to stay in the same spot,” he said. “[I want to] not sell out, find that middle ground where I’m still true to myself.”

Heinrichs is currently working on releasing a mix-tape called N.A.U. (North American Union) that includes artists like Hell Razah, Killah Priest, and Vendetta Kingz.