Toronto's Top Up-and-Coming Rap and R&B Artists
Some Toronto rappers and singers you should keep an ear to.
Photo cred- Lucia Graca (Exclaim)
Go anywhere in the world, say the words "Toronto rap music" and automatically people mention Drake, maybe even The Weeknd. Since our city's greatest musical exports have quickly become the biggest artists in rap and R&B music, a new wave of rappers and the singers in the city have come up. You may wonder who these people are so we took the liberty of listing 10 artists who have been making the most noise in the city as of late.
1. Jazz Cartier
Fresh off the release of his debut mixtape, Marauding in Paradise, this 21 year-old out of Kensington Market is already the talk of Toronto's new school of rap. His music takes inspiration from a mix of trap, electronic and experimental styles and is already gaining a legion of new fans across North America. With a headlining showcase at this week's Canadian Music Week, a string of visually compelling YouTube videos, and more. The next star of Toronto rap could be born in this artist.
2. Jimmy Johnson
Ever wondered where the term "The 6" came from? The city's rumour mill suggests downtown rapper Jimmy Johnson actually coined the term and not Drake. Besides that, he's managed to add his own flare to the new Toronto sound established by Drake and company, who co-signed the downtown rapper last year by posting his single "Pray" on the October's Very Own blog. The auto-tuned heavy vocals, dark, slowed-down electro production from frequent collaborator Eric Dingus, and emphasis on the nighttime environment and cold winters of Toronto have made him a household name already in the city's rap music.
3. Rochelle Jordan
This Scarborough singer/songwriter, who now splits her time between Toronto and L.A, is known for her ability to use a wide array of melodies and voice stylings and already has some incredible accomplishments under her belt. She was recently nominated for a Grammy for her writing on the song "Telegraph Ave" from rapper Childish Gambino's album Because The Internet. Since 2011 Rochelle has released 2 EP's, a mixtape Killah and an album, 1021. In a city that, thanks to The Weeknd, is at the forefront of the new generation of R&B, Rochelle has found her spot and plans to remain in it.
4. Ty Senoj/New Wave Order Music
Ty Senoj Joe Impala, the creators of New Wave Order Music started making noise in the city after releasing their debut video Hunnid Fiddy Milly last year but through their mix of trap and dancehall inspired bangers, these Ajax Ont. natives have been racking up a steady following in the city over the past year. Through showcasing Toronto's high end fashion and Carribean cultures while pumping out melodic club tracks, the boys of New Wave Order have the potential to be some of the biggest rap artists from Toronto ever.
5. Derek Wise
Known for his style of dark almost goth rap, this 22-year old based in Kensington Market or KENZO, has made waves in the city and music blogs ahead of the release of his 2nd mixtape Mom's Basement with new singles and videos every few months and a growing relationship with The Weeknd and his XO record label. He's also part of the Get Home Safe artist collective in Kensington Market, the same one Jazz Cartier, also on this list, is in. Derek's goth rap style, production that fuses trap and industrial music without the pounding 808 effects, makes him one of the most original artists on this list and it's this originality that could go a long way for the Mississauga native.
6. Big Lean
Scarborough's Big Lean is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. After gaining a following in Toronto's project housing complexes, Lean has his first official EP Enough is Enough coming later this year with the first single Benjamins featuring The Diplomats' Juelz Santana already racking up millions of views on WorldStarHipHop. Lean's gritty raps about life growing up in Parma Court, a housing complex in east Toronto, make him stand out from the more designer fashion-savvy rappers the city is producing so with his EP coming soon, expect to hear more about this Scarborough rapper very soon.
Photo cred: Tre Mission (Facebook)
7. Tre Mission
He is Toronto's answer to grime music, a popular style of rap formed in the U.K. and so far the only Juno-nominated artist on this list, picking up a Best Rap Album nomination for his 2014 album Stigmata a few months ago. Though born and raised in Toronto, Tre spent time living in London, where grime is the go-to style of rap music. When he returned to this side of the world, he used grime music to his advantage to make something different from the average Toronto sound. Catch him performing during Canadian Music Week if you have a chance.
8. Kiki Rowe
This 19-year old Mississauga singer/songwriter, with her introspective songs about relationship issues and more, has created a steady following from videos on WorldStarHipHop and the release of her debut EP in October, but has the potential to carry the torch of Toronto's new R&B sound in the footsteps of The Weeknd. This Royal Conservatory pianist turned R&B singer/songwriter only started releasing music last year but her soft-spoken voice is likely to carry her a long way in this industry so give her a listen.
9. Raz Fresco
Rapper/producer Raz Fresco has become a prominent figure in Toronto rap music beginning his journey at the age of 15. Now 20, he's already produced music for rappers like Tyga, Mac Miller, and French Montana, and has a slew of mixtapes under his belt both on his own and with his Toront0-based Bakers Club hip-hop collective. His music is reminiscent of east-coast 90s hip-hop with a soulful twist and his debut album Pablo Frescobar is available June 2 and already boasts a single with legendary Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon, so be on the look out for that and more from this young artist.
Photo cred: A-Game (Facebook)
Likely the only rap duo of twins you'll ever see in the city, A-Game consisting of Nova and Chase are Scarborough twins who's songs about living lavishly in Toronto and eccentric videos have given them quite the following within the city. The boys recently opened up for T.I in his cross-Canada tour at the end of 2014 and following the release of singles 'Money Made Me Do It' that was featured many times on Toronto hip-hop station Flow 93.5, they're at work finishing up the follow-up to their 2013 mixtape Boarding Pass. If you like a mix of gritty and fun rap music, these two are highly recommended.