WATCH: Former Drug Trafficker Turned Hip Hop Artist Aquakultre Releases Pay it Forward

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Halifax hip hop artist Lance Sampson, a.k.a. Aquakultre, is set to release his band's debut album, Legacy, in May, but his teaser track/video, "Pay It Forward," is a call for kindness, in which he literally gives away the clothes off his back.

"The concept of 'Pay it Forward' has been a driving force in my way of life. It has played such a big role in my personality, and my morals, and has definitely helped me re-frame some of life's harder moments in a positive light," he said in a press statement.

"The musicality of the track has such a positive vibe to it, it wraps you up in this feeling of warmth," he adds. "I think the tracks before it are so heavy, it was only right to remind people to be kind to one another."

The 2018 CBC Searchlight winner in January unveiled his music video for the song "Pay It Forward," which underlines a story of redemption for Samson captured with the lyrics "I learned pay it forward, and it's worked for me/ Now that I found, the key/ I spread that gift to the world, 'cause it's needed."

Sampson's personal journey includes a conviction five years ago, when he was 19, for drug trafficking for which he was sentenced to five years in jail in Nova Scotia. While in prison for 19 months, before being released on good behaviour, he taught himself how to play the guitar with the help of fellow inmates.

In 2018, Sampson, a plumber by trade, started rapping and took part in the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, and recorded his debut album at the National Music Centre in Calgary. 

Sampson also has a band that includes Jeremy Costello, Nick Dourado and Nathan Doucet.  His musical success and ability to bounce back from adversity was recognized in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly on March 22, 2018 when MLA Lisa Roberts rose to praise Sampson for his CBC Searchlight competition win.

"Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the success of Halifax's Lance Sampson, a.k.a. aquakultre, who was just named the winner of CBC's 2018 Searchlight Competition. Mr. Sampson's story should be made into a Nova Scotia-made film. He picked up a guitar while he was incarcerated at Springhill for convictions related to drug trafficking. Now, with national attention for his original music that mixes rap with soulful R&B singing, Sampson continues to prioritize his day job, working as a plumber, which he vows to continue until he gets his Red Seal. He'll have to take some time off, though, to perform at the Junos," Roberts told the legislature as she put Sampson's personal journey of redemption into the public record. 

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