Sunday, March 7, 2021


Six Rappers to Watch from Toronto’s Hip-Hop Scene.

February 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Since December 2020, DJ Akademiks has used the Twitch wing of his platform to promote and introduce the new wave of talent from the Toronto hip-hop scene.

To say that the scene is full of characters would be something of an understatement. The YouTube mini-documentary series Savages from the 6ix on the mindsoul6ix channel is also a good reference into the background of some of these artists.

Criminal backgrounds, music careers, and the street gangs of Canada’s biggest city are covered there. As for the rappers themselves, the Toronto hip-hop scene is vast and there are too many to list here.

Expect a part two but in part one, we’re giving you five Toronto rappers to check out. Most of these rappers were introduced via Akademiks’ ties with 6ixbuzz, a media outlet that covers the hip-hop scene in the city and also produces music.

Top5

The first Toronto artist of this new wave interviewed by DJ Akademiks was Top5. Charismatic and extremely rowdy, he has solo music but collaborates with others in the scene often.

His music floats between vibe music and violent drill music. Drill is basically an off-shoot of trap that was established in Chicago during the late 2000s.

The sound made its way to Toronto, the UK, and New York just as the wave first started to wane. While still dark and gritty, Toronto drill is somewhat faster.

Top5’s brand of drill features braggadocio, threats, and just downright disrespectful disses to rivals—living and dead. Keep this in mind because these are themes that pop up with other artists.

Actually, saying he’s “charismatic and extremely rowdy” is a bit of an understatement. The Hood 6ix channel uses the nickname “The Most Hated Rapper in the 6ix”.

This stems from the very same dissing rivals on social media and other wild and just disrespectful antics. Those Instagram videos can be seen on YouTube. Things escalated with bystanders either being shot or shot at and his family’s house being the target of retaliation.

That aside, his flow isn’t for everyone but he delivers hip-hop that doesn’t require the audio reflexes to catch punchlines but it’s a sound I really dig. His songs used to rely on hooks and collabs until “2 Cases” showed he could carry a track on his own well.

Recommended Songs: “Drill Some More” (ft. Flippa)*, “2 Cases”, “Heard of Me” (ft. WhyG)

WhyG

Hip-hop is genre that is based on realism and legitimacy. There’s a sizable section of fans who really want their artists to walk the walk if they’re talking the talk.

A close collaborator of Top5 and Pressa, WhyG is a rapper who did just that and really began to pursue music seriously after beating his legal issues. His flow hovers between aggressive and totally dismissive but there are some songs that are an odd mix of disrespectful and vibe-worthy such as “Peeons”.

What I also dig about WhyG’s music is when he lands a dope punchline that has no flash to it. He doesn’t need flash although he also raps about flashy things.

While they can cause trouble beyond the music by those who choose to act on them, his more aggressive tracks where someone gets dissed are when he is at his best.

“Blue Tee” is another dope track to dive into if you want something harder than the above-mentioned song. WhyG has several albums to check out among them Killer by Myself and Mr. Vanishyah. As for the choice cuts:

Recommended Songs: “Peeons”*, “Blue Tee” *, “Wlatt Season 2” (ft. SupaWassi)

WhyG-Rapper-2021

Pressa

Along with Top5—and later in the first Toronto stream—WhyG, Pressa was introduced to people who hadn’t been following his music. It’s odd because of the artist from the city not named Drake, Tory Lanez, or The Weeknd, Pressa has that star power to him.

It also helps that he has a good head on his shoulders and comes off as more chill and respectful than Top5. Actually, he’s more like WhyG minus the insane levels of aggression in his music.

That isn’t to say Pressa is a purely vibe rapper or a dark, depressing one. He’s far from that as he makes a mix of tunes for those of who like the harder stuff and those of us who dig music to vibe too.

Like WhyG, he also came from a life of crime and was actually on the run for attempted murder at a time. Now, he’s the head of his own record label—Blue Feathers Records—and focuses on that and his own music.

It’s worked for him so far. He’s not even 30 and has started making major waves in music beyond the Toronto hip-hop scene. I recommend checking out this album Prestige and the EP Gardener Express.

The guy can make hits with dope hooks and make it seem effortless.

Recommended Songs: “Roaches and Mice” **, “Blackberry Zap” ** (w/ Jackboy), “Attachments” (ft. Taliban Glizzy)

Booggz

Another co-host in that first stream was Booggz—who had or has an ongoing beef with Top5 and Pressa. Or rather, Top5 targeted him among others. That aside, as an artist, Booggz is an artist who delivers some strong vibe tracks.

His flow kind of reminded me of Pressa’s mixed with WhyG’s adlib strength on an initial listen of his music. Now I acknowledge that could be inflammatory for fans of all three, that’s why I said “initial listen”.

In checking out more of his tunes, you hear that he has his own flow and just like any artist some songs will hit and others will grow on you. He does have strong adlibs and his flow is built around that.

This flow is also often accompanied by—and I’ve used this word too much already—vibe beats. You’re not going to be hit with just wave after wave of aggression but he still has that hungry, braggadocio that you hear in quite a bit of the Toronto hip-hop scene.

He found a formula that really works for him. That’s a goal of all artists music or otherwise.

Recommended Songs: “Organization” (ft. Drake) **, “Key to the City” **, “Barcelona”

Chromazz

I can’t mention Booggz without mentioning Chromazz. While they’re not a duo or joined at the hip, it was their collab on “Big” (Young M.A Remix) that got me to dig more into her music.

She also joined Ak’s Toronto stream and was one of the more chill guests until the joking towards her tip-toed over from the playful side to just uncouth. It’s understandable since she rarely had anything bad to say about others on the stream.

Now, other artists on other shows that’s another story. Most of the targeting on her stems either from her use of N-word in her music and—depending who’s telling it—her background as either an escort or a masseuse.

Chromita music and vibe is pretty much that of Latina sex symbol. Her flow fits that vibe and can change it up depending on if she’s featured or if she’s solo. Besides Pressa on this list, Chromazz is an artist who is very likely to blow up outside of Toronto and actually, she’s already started to do that.

She’s definitely got momentum going. A feature with Megan Thee Stallion would see her go nuclear but she’s targeted Megan in the song “Marcus Thee Stallion” and in interviews.

Recommended Songs: “Big” (Young M.A Remix) (w/ Booggz), “Chromita”, “Quarantina”

Rolexx Homi

Always masked when in videos and the like, he came under Toronto law enforcement’s radar after being accused of inciting violence in late 2020. Prior to this, he was charged and sentenced to two years at 16 for a crime that resulted in a standoff.

After being released, he began to focus on music but had been implicated in other instances of violence. As for his music, Rolexx Homi could be described in the old hip-hop head sense as “a rapper’s rapper”.

He’s technically proficient with his verses and delivers them with this level of grittiness and aggression that I dig. Like everyone on this list, he has his own music as a solo artist but shines on collaborations.

If you want straight up hip-hop with little-to-no studio magic and the like, Rolexx delivers in that respect. Could he make it beyond Toronto and away from gangland violence?

It really depends on the label and if Rolexx wants to break beyond Toronto. Believe it or not, there are rappers who are good with being regional legends or national stars.

That said, Rolexx definitely has the talent and the tunes to be on people’s radars.

Recommended Songs: “Halal Meat” (Rabba) (w/ Vanauley Stacks and Mr. Comfortable) **, “Avengersk”, “Wicker” (ft. TWOTWO) *

As I said before, there will be a part two to this list. What artists would you like to see on the list next time? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

 


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