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10 upcoming must-see hip hop shows in Toronto

Posted by MC FUBB / August 27, 2012

toronto hip hopI usually associate the summer months with fun, good times, and some of the best hip hop events our city has to offer, and the end of the summer of 2012 will be no exception. With our altogether-too-long winters, we have a limited time to enjoy the good weather and laid-back vibes of summertime in the city, but there's an array of upcoming shows, events, and festivals featuring both local and international acts to still look forward to before the mercury takes a dive. What better way to enjoy the final weeks of summer than with some boom-bap festivities?

Here is a list (in chronological order) of ten shows that I'm excited about.

TUESDAY AUGUST 28 / BIG MIC TO / THE CENTRAL / 603 MARKHAM ST / 9:30PM / FREE

For those seeking a taste of Toronto's underground hip hop music scene, this event is a showcase of some of Toronto's promising up and coming emcees mixed with some relatively unknown artists. A variety of styles and flavours should be found at this show, from rappers to singers to spoken word artists. Some of the artists on the bill include: myself (MC FÜBB), Crossword (The Vibonics), F.E.L.N., and Ginz. Music provided by deejays Punjaycan and DMS.

FRIDAY AUGUST 31 / 5TH ANNUAL 106 AND YORK URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL / YORKWOOD'S THEATRE / 1785 FINCH AVE W / DOORS AT 4PM / $5

The 106 and York Festival, now in its 5th year, is an urban arts festival with an emphasis on artists from the communities in the North-West area of the city. Headline performers at this year's event include JD Era (recently signed to Raekwon's Ice H20 Record Label), Juno nominated producer/emcee Rich Kidd, and upcoming vocalist Shi Wisdom. There will be numerous other performers at the event as well as visual artists, and booths for community organizers and entrepreneurs to network. All in all, not a bad way to spend the last night of August 2012.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 2 / PUBLIC ENEMY / SOUND ACADEMY / 11 POLSON ST / 8PM / $25 IN ADVANCE

Having made their mark in the late '80s and then continuing to put out album after album since then, Public Enemy is one of the most highly influential, politically-oriented hip hop groups of all time. Their sophomore album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time - across all genres of music - and they'll be performing songs from the album at the show. This is a rare opportunity to hear Chuck D's bold, baritone emceeing and Flava Flav's signature hype-man vocals in Toronto. But "Don't Believe the Hype" - come and see them for yourself.

Tickets available in-stores at Soundscapes, Rotate This, and Play De Record or online at ticketmaster.ca.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5 / BLU AND NOTES TO SELF / REVIVAL BAR / 783 COLLEGE ST / DOORS AT 9PM / $20 IN ADVANCE

Best known for his collaborations with DJ and producer Exile, Los Angeles emcee Blu has been gaining much international notoriety since the release of the duo's 2007 album, Below the Heavens. Having released numerous projects since then, Blu has gained a huge fan-base and for good reason - he's dope! Add to the mix Toronto hip hop heavyweights Notes to Self, who have released several banging singles since the start of 2012 (including collaborations with Evidence of Dilated Peoples and Fashawn), and this show is a can't-miss night for hip hop lovers.

Tickets available online or in-store at Play De Record, Soundscapes, and Homebase.

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 7 / DROPPIN' KNOWLEDGE / THE RIVOLI / 334 QUEEN ST W / DOORS AT 9:30PM / $12 IN ADVANCE

After a three month hiatus, hip hop monthly showcase/jam Droppin' Knowledge (aka DK) has returned. Known for booking buzzing up-and-coming artists from the US as well as showcasing Toronto talent, DK is a fun-vibe hip hop show with a youthful party atmosphere. This month's event is featuring Los Angeles native Iman Omari, known for his recent Energy mixtape and collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller. Other local talent on the bill include: TFHouse, Kit Knows, and DK founder Fundament. Music supplied by DJ James Redi with special guest DJ Mensa, co-hosted by Double X and Roshin (Notes to Self).

Tickets available online or in-stores at Play De Record, MOOG Audio, and Soundscapes.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12 / RELIC - MILES TO GO ALBUM RELEASE PARTY / THE RIVOLI / 334 QUEEN ST W / DOORS AT 9:30PM / $10

Emcee and producer Relic has been a staple of Toronto's hip hop scene for several years now. Building momentum since his 2009 album The Green Light, followed up by his EPs Not for Nothing and OuttaMind in 2011, as well as numerous single and videos, Relic has been a busy man. His latest full-length, self-produced album, Miles to Go, promises to be an incredible release, with cameos by the likes of Shad, Ghettosocks, Die-Rek, Fresco P, NewBreedMC, and more. Openers on the bill include Wio-K, Ghettosocks, Unbuttoned, and special guest Fresh Kils on the live MPC. This show looks like it will be another triumphant night for Toronto hip hop.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20 / THE CYPHER / THE CENTRAL / 603 MARKHAM ST / 10PM / $5

The Cypher is a grassroots hip hop that I founded with the Hip Hop Headz (H3) community in downtown Toronto in the summer of 2009, and has been operating on a monthly basis since then. The Cypher is an event designed to keep alive the spirit of spontaneous creativity and showmanship that can occur only in hip hop, giving all emcees that show up a chance to rock the mic and pass it around in the cypher. Part open mic, part hip hop jam, part showcase, The Cypher is a true-school, underground hip hop event where lovers of hip hop music and culture will feel at home. Featured performers for September's event are TBA. Music supplied by DJ Xplisit and DJ Romeo. Hosted by yours truly (MC FÜBB).

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21 - SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23 / 6TH ANNUAL MANIFESTO FESTIVAL / VARIOUS VENUES / TBA

Now in its sixth year, the Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture has become one of Toronto's biggest and most renowned hip hop festivals. While in previous years, the festival has spanned over a week or more, this year, it's taking place over only three days (likely working with a smaller budget due to less sponsorship). The shorter festival should not, however, dissuade lovers of hip hop music and culture from attending the Manifesto events. On day 1 there will be an art exhibition and kick-off party on at the Regent Park Arts & Cultural Center. Day 2 (Sept. 22) is the Fresh Arts 20 x Manifesto Summit youth arts program with panel discussions, speakers, and mentor classes. Day 3 (Sept. 23) is the main event, with Dundas Square being transformed into a "hip hop music, culture, and art epicenter," which will include a full day of music on the main stage featuring local and international artists (artists TBA).

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24 / BIG K.R.I.T. - LIVE FROM THE UNDERGROUND TOUR / PHOENIX CONCERT THEATRE / 410 SHERBOURNE ST / 8PM / $26.50

Since the release of his critically acclaimed 2010 mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Mississippi rapper and producer Big K.R.I.T. (acronym for "King Remembered In Time") has been garnering much attention from hip hop listeners. He released his debut album, Live from the Underground, earlier this year, and again managed to impress critics and fans alike. Being heralded as one of the best up-and-coming southern hip hop artists, K.R.I.T.'s music stands out for its soulful sound and honest, emotive lyrical content. Openers for the show are fellow southern rappers Slim Thug and Big Sant.

Tickets available in-stores at Rotate This, Soundscapes, Play De Record, and online at ticketmaster.ca.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30 / BROTHER ALI / ANNEX WRECKROOM / 794 BATHURST ST / 8PM / $18.50

Indie hip hop sensation Brother Ali will be in Toronto to perform and promote his much anticipated fourth album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Colour (which is scheduled to drop on Sept. 18). A socially conscious emcee with intense flows and bold vocal delivery, Brother Ali has been busy in 2012, receiving much love for his latest singles/music videos, such as "Not a Day Goes By," "Writer's Block," and "Shine On." For fans of politically conscious, socially aware, and at times downright inspirational lyrics, this show is for you.

Tickets available in-stores at Soundscapes, Rotate This, and Play De Record or online at ticketmaster.ca.

Writing by Daniel Farb. Photo by mehan on Flickr

Discussion

23 Comments

acv66 / August 27, 2012 at 04:56 pm
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no 2chainz? so basically if your making albums on large record labels you cant make this list
Mike G / August 27, 2012 at 05:12 pm
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Would 2Chainz be as popular as he is (and his popularity baffles me, by the way) if he still went by his original - and unfortunate - stage name "Tity Boi?"
NC / August 27, 2012 at 05:17 pm
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I'm pissed that PE is on the Long Weekend ...
Jason / August 27, 2012 at 05:30 pm
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No Kendrick Lamar?? Sept. 19th at Sound Academy...
Redkulat / August 27, 2012 at 05:58 pm
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Who the fuck wrote this? You're forgetting Big Sean, ASAP Rocky, 2Chainz, Kendrick Lamar. No one gives a shit about these no name idiots.
Mar replying to a comment from Redkulat / August 27, 2012 at 06:27 pm
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I wouldn't call big krit or public enemy no name idiots but to miss ASAP and Danny brown is a pretty massive oversight.
Rick replying to a comment from Redkulat / August 27, 2012 at 07:52 pm
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You must be a young fella to be calling Public Enemy a bunch of no name idiots. Know your facts before you insult something and/or someone.
Iain Cormack / August 27, 2012 at 07:58 pm
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A$AP Rocky/Danny Brown is not on the list but definitely a show not to be missed!
LOL / August 27, 2012 at 08:45 pm
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HOW DID U MISS LIL B THE BASED GOD????? I PRAY FOR U
Jessica / August 27, 2012 at 09:35 pm
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The guy who wrote this is an emcee in Toronto. He probably forgot the shows like Kendrick, 2 Chainz, ASAP and others because he doesn't like them. So he focused on shows that are worth seeing to him. He also didn't slack on pushing his own event "The Cypher" in this list.
P / August 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm
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Obviously focussing on the slightly more 'underground' / old-school hip hop sound (yes, I know Public Enemy is hardly underground) - so new artists like 2 Chainz / ASAP / Lil B have been missed off the list. Although this is for the best, imo. Shameless self plug, but thanks for the list.
Greg replying to a comment from Redkulat / August 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm
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Public Enemy is a no name group? Have you been living in a cave?
SGB / August 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm
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This is an awesome list of things to go to rocking cargo shorts and a regressive attitude.
J / August 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm
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LOL @ people being mad that Big Sean and 2 Chainz didn't make the list. I'm a huge GOOD Music fan myself but those two suck.

But he did miss the Kendrick Lamar (+ Ab-Soul and Jay Rock), ASAP Rocky (+ Danny Brown), and Lupe Fiasco shows which is odd. Still a nice list
Abiia / August 28, 2012 at 01:19 am
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lol at the people calling the artists on this list "no name" Clearly you kids have no clue about hip hop. What the F*ck is a 2 chainz??
Blu a no name? HA!
Brother Ali a no name? HA!
Public Enemy a no name? HA!

You guys are all clearly comedians, and not hip hop fans.

I will admit that Kendrick not being on this list baffles me- but it is a matter of opinion I guess..

jg / August 28, 2012 at 07:49 am
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lol mc fubb gave me his cd on the street once. it was definitely more fit as a coaster.

it's not that this list is "no names", it's that he's completely disregarded most of the upcoming shows that wouldn't be considered "underground hiphop", a term that pretty much applies to people still stuck in the late 90s.
It really WAS better in my day / August 28, 2012 at 08:36 am
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I have actually lived long enough to see Public Enemy referred to as "no name idiots". FFS.
rG / August 28, 2012 at 11:19 am
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Lol.. 2 chainz is a terrible lyricist and even more terrible live that's why he is int on this list. I do still enjoy a couple of his songs for their ignorant fun replay value. Nobody wants to goto a hip-hop concert where its super bass heavy beats with bad mixing, vocals suck because the artist can't deliver and the lyrics are whack. Might as well just stand in a room with distorted bass blaring and watch some guy move his hands around and look real stupid.
Read To Achieve / August 28, 2012 at 03:30 pm
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The article is called "10 upcoming must-see hip hop shows in Toronto", not the 10 best hip hop shows, or the next 10 hip hop shows in Toronto... just 10 suggestions of hip hop shows you might wanna see, and he took the time to include some that might have flown below your radar. Based on the support for Kendrick, A$AP, Danny & 2 Chainz, it doesn't seem they needed to be put on the list seeing as so many know of the shows anyway.
Henry / August 31, 2012 at 08:27 pm
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How about some love for Hopsin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRVOOwFNp5U
Shay / September 15, 2012 at 12:59 am
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Claudia / October 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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Claudia
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