Friends remember “gentle giant” Pat Stay, acclaimed battle rapper

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Friends of acclaimed Dartmouth, NS, Battle rapper Pat Stay remember him for his quick wit and kind yet unassuming manner.

Stay was killed in Halifax early Sunday morning, a victim of a stabbing that police ruled a manslaughter. He was 36 and internationally known for his skills behind the mic.

“He was on the verge of breaking through,” said Behnny Mennier, a close friend of Stay’s who had known him since her days at Northbrook Elementary School in Dartmouth. “He is loved and he will always be remembered.”

Mennier described Stay as a “gentle giant” who would do anything to make others feel better.

“He always had time for everyone. He had the kindest words to speak to anyone. When they were upset, he could see their situation and fix it instantly with his tiny humor,” he said.

Stay’s appreciation for hip-hop began at a young age through Stay’s older brother, Mennier said.

“Just Humble Pat”

“We always rapped when we were kids … he never got big-headed, he was always just the humble Pat,” Mennier said.

Mennier said he loves that Stay is getting recognition for his skills.

High-profile hip-hop artists like Eminem and Drake, as well as local artists, have sent their condolences.

Mennier last saw Stay at a wedding party on Saturday night. As Mennier got ready to leave, he and Stay hugged.

Raised $100,000 for family

Another childhood friend, Joey Hawkins, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Stay’s partner and two children. Hawkins’ fundraiser surpassed $100,000 on Monday.

“I know Pat didn’t deserve what happened to him,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he will remember his friend for his kind nature.

Pat Stay, left, with longtime girlfriend Behnny Mennier. (Submitted by Behnny Mennier)

“His battle rap personality – that was him in his element. But other than that, he was also a very sweet, generous and caring person,” Hawkins said.

Verena Rizg saw the same things in Stay. The spoken word artist and personal friend told CBC information morning She met Stay years ago through friends.

“You have this battle rapper who comes across as a very strong, fierce creature on stage…but personally, anyone who knows him would tell you he’s a gentle giant,” Rizg said.

“He didn’t want to be seen as too soft a guy, but he was always talking, even on his social media, about how much he cared about people.”

Rizg said when people contacted him, he would always reply. She said Stay has a way of building people up and feels comfortable sharing unfinished work with him.

“I would say something to him that I found horrible, and he would say, ‘You’re a star, that’s great.’ He was just very encouraging,” said Rizg.

She said one of her fondest memories was after Stay won a rap battle in the UK

“I said, ‘Pat, don’t laugh, but I’ve been praying for you.’ He said, ‘Why should I laugh about that?’ and I said, ‘Well, that’s probably not something you hear a lot when it comes to rap battles,'” she said.

“But he just said, ‘I really appreciate that, Verena, thank you, you are special.’ If anyone else may have laughed at that comment… he was just really caring and respectful of everyone from all different walks of life even if he didn’t understand their life paths.

Real Sikh, left, and Pat Stay perform onstage during Drake’s Till Death Do Us part rap battle on October 30, 2021 in Long Beach, California. (Amy Sussmann/Getty Images)

Tremaine Emmerson, aka Critical aka Critty, was the first person to ever fight Pat Stay in Nova Scotia. After that initial struggle, he told CBC information morning the two became friends.

Of that first battle, Emmerson said Pat was “a problem.”

“He was him [greatest of all time] right out of the gates like I don’t even know what I’m getting myself into … he was the man,” Emmerson said. “He cheered me clearly, like three rounds to zero. It was crazy how good he was.”

What set Stay apart, Emmerson said, was his cleverness.

“He could do anything and he could just do it well… he was the best at that stuff, when it came to the wit and the clever lines, even the comebacks, he was the best.”

Watch a 2012 CBC feature about Pat Stay:

CBC’s David Thurton introduces us to Pat Stay, a Nova Scotian battle rapper who competes internationally.

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