5 up and coming hip hop artists in Toronto
The best up and coming hip hop artists in Toronto is a tough list to come up with given the pool of options. Raw talent alone usually isn't enough to be noticed in today's fast-paced industry, and artists need to develop an incredible work ethic and eventually a team that will implement strategies to help achieve their goals. So, before I start, some honourable mentions for this list are Quanche, The 6th Letter, T.City, and — because I know some people will kick up a fuss — come on, Rich Kidd is beyond "up and coming" at this point.
Since we posted about Tre Mission in January, this 22 year old artist known for embracing UK's Grime style of rap has made some power moves. Backed by a strong management team at Last Gang, earlier this summer he dropped a free full length album called Malmaison, which showcases his skills both as a producer and as a fierce lyricist. In August he opened for Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt at Sound Academy, and two weeks later crushed the stage headlining at Wrongbar. Quite recently, Tre Mission signed a three-album deal with Big Dada, an independent record label in England known as home for some of Britain's most prominent hip hop artists. According to the label we can expect his debut album in early 2014 - and one shouldn't be surprised if they find a featured verse from one of his new label mates, like grime pioneer Wiley or Roots Manuva.
AIN'T NO LOVE
This electro hip hop group, fronted by songstress Saidah Conrad alongside rappers 1990 and Beanz, have hit the ground running since forming two years ago. They have two EPs under their belt, videos featured on MuchMusic, MTV and mtvU, and have performed in NYC, at SXSW and England's Great Escape Festival this year. Known for an energetic live show, they've shared stages with the likes of Iggy Azalea, Lunice, Dead Prez, and Rockie Fresh among others. A remix of their track "Love Me Lots" recently cracked 1,000,000 plays on the massively popular German-based YouTube channel Majestic Casual, which is guaranteed to generate some European buzz. According to the group's social media, they are gearing up to release two videos this fall and have been busy in the studio crafting a series of singles.
Ebony "Wondagurl" Oshunrinde, a 16 year old from Brampton, blew up onto the hip hop production scene this year after landing a credit on Jay Z's newest album Magna Carta... Holy Grail. She's been putting in work since the age of 9 and after winning a beat contest in 2009 she met producer Boi-1da, who quickly took her under his wings. He provided the bridge to Houston rapper/producer Travis $cott, who happened to be listening to some of her beats in the studio when one caught Jay Z's attention. This would eventually become "Crown", track 8 on MCHG. She's expected to rank in the top 5 on Billboard's "21 under 21" list for 2014 — not a bad start for a teenager who produces out of her bedroom. With her stock price soaring and rumblings of potentially working with Drake in the near future, the sky is the limit for one of hip hop's newest young prospects.
Embodying an image and sound inspired by mid-1990s hip hop, Raz Fresco stays busier than most in the game - hitting the internet with a steady flow of content over the past few years. Many of his videos have seen exposure through respected hip hop outlets like XXL, VIBE Magazine and 2dopeboyz. His camp, known as ΒΛΚΞΓ$CLUΒ, is a group of talented artists who collaborate often — flexing their strength in numbers. Raz also spends a lot of time behind the boards, having produced much of his own material, as well as beats for the likes of Mac Miller, Tyga and French Montana. This summer he cyphered at Toronto's instalment of Boiler Room TV's Rap Life series and will be representing the city again at Atlanta's A3C Hip Hop Festival this week.
Last year, this 24 year old self-proclaimed "Young Desperado" opened for the Canadian leg of Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park tour. At that time he had released two self-produced projects: On My Way and Superior Taste. On his most recent album, Young Desperado, which came out earlier this year, he experiments with beats from other producers for the first time and also takes more of an aggressive, almost intentionally ignorant, approach lyrically. The most recent single, "Hundred Thousand Birds", featuring the aforementioned Tre Mission, has a mesmerizingly eerie video to go along with it.
Photo of TF House via Facebook