A slightly different article by a guest writer – Gary Lin about the Rap scene in Toronto, Canada. Gary Lin’s – Top 6 Rappers From The 6ix – July 15th 2016.
6. Derin Falana
Derin Falana, formerly known as The Flan, has only been on the scene for about a year. He had a few breakout hits on soundcloud last year, one of them being the fan favourite, Bet.
His newer material isn’t getting the same amount of love but his videos are quite well shot for an independent artist. In his most recent track, The Pick Up, the usage of drone footage takes an otherwise typical rap video to the next level. Derin’s come up may be slow but he’s definitely on the rise.
Rocky Mountain – Derin Falana is available on iTunes*
5. Sean Leon
Sean Leon is becoming one of the most talked about independent rappers in the Toronto scene. Killin Mind (Killin’ Mind – Single – Sean Leon is available on iTunes*) has been out for about two months and the track is slowly picking up steam. With bars like ‘When I close my eyes, I see dolla signs’ Sean is in the pocket through the whole track.
Sean’s most recent song, Game 7 Flow/Court Tomorrow deserves a listen as well. Leon also deserves recognition beyond his own bars, as he produces and is also the founder of the IXXI Initiative, home to fellow T.O emcee Daniel Caesar, who just barely missed making this list.
Shah, the newest rapper on our Top 6 list, might also be the one with the greatest potential for stardom. His début singles Rookie Card and Don’t Do It Mandela have been both critically praised and steadily been putting up impressive numbers since their May release.
The buzz surrounding Shah is also palpable outside of Toronto. He was recently named one of the world’s top 10 desi rappers (the only Canadian on the list). Through the backing of a New York and Los Angeles production collective, Shah has created a music video series that’s provided fans with cinematic visuals that we’ve just never seen from an independent rapper. The next video in his series drops later this month and will be for his recently released track Ridin Shotty With God, his strongest song to date.
This new Toronto rapper was recently signed to Cash Money so Birdman is featured at least once on J-Soul’s tracks off his new EP Jane 2 Miami that dropped last month. The aptly named Cash Money is the most banging song on the EP
and is an impressive follow up to his breakout single Toronto Plaza Motel.
Given the Cash Money connection, it is interesting that J-Soul hasn’t attempted to leverage his connection to Drake. In this day and age where a cosign means everything, I love how J-Soul is doing his own thing. With his ability to drop bars and skillfully sing, J-Soul is another Toronto name you’ll soon be hearing everywhere.
2. Roy Woods
As soon as there’s patois you know it’ll be the next big Toronto hit. It looks like Roy Woods is staying true to his sound since being signed to OVO with Gwan Big Up Urself (Gwan Big Up Urself – Single – Roy Woods is available on iTunes*).
With Drake featured on his first single Drama (Exis – EP – Roy Woods is available on iTunes.*), it was no surprise that Roy blew up as quickly as he did. Now opening for Drake and Future on the Summer 16 tour, Roy is without a doubt a rapper on the rise and his newest track is fire.
1. Jazz Cartier
Undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Toronto’s rap scene, Jazz is surprisingly not as well known outside of Canada. While the other artists on this list are largely independent, Jazz has benefited from being signed to Universal, and his most recent releases reflect his transition to a more mainstream, but still respectable, sound. His style is notably versatile from his aggressive delivery and flow on Lil Wayne (Lil Wayne – Jazz Cartier is available on iTunes.*)
to his more melodic and tuned verse on Ring with Ye Ali (Ring – Single – Ye Ali & Jazz Cartier is available on iTunes*). Other than Ring, one thing that Jazz hasn’t done much of is features. His last album was only released in February but fans were already clamouring for the follow up and our wishes have been granted with this new summer hit.
website (be aware music starts immediately)
Honourable Mentions: DillanPonders, Tasha Amazon, Daniel Caesar.
My thanks to Gary Lin and Liz Cleveland for the insight on what is hot in Toronto.
Gary Lin is a NY-based cultural connoisseur. Follow him on Instagram @garylin91
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