Kardinal Offishall Anthem

Has Kardinal Offishall penned Toronto's first anthem?

Although Kardinal Offishall's "Anthem" has been out for quite a while now, the recent release of the accompanying music video only serves to emphasize the degree to which the song is an unabashed celebration of all things Toronto. Here we get shots of everything from Honest Ed's to kite flying at the Scarborough Bluffs to York University (and a hell of a lot in between).

I'm usually hyper-resistant to overly positive efforts like this one -- I seriously doubt, for instance, that we have "hotter women than any city admitting" -- but given Offishall's anthemic aims, the rose-coloured glasses make total sense. Still, it'd be nice if so many of his lines didn't feel like forced-rhymes (yikes, I'm one to talk). Case in point: the pair "Working class people and some others with some privileges / Any way you look at it we seeing past differences" verges on the juvenile in both its construction and the way it dispatches with class distinctions in the city.

But, let's be honest, this isn't about painting an accurate picture. It's a love song. And like all love songs, it's marked by the type of nostalgia that distorts the very thing it celebrates. Yet, forgetting all that, it's also completely infectious. Every time I hear it, I quickly find myself humming or singing its rising and falling money line(s): "I'm from the T dot Oh / Rep it everywhere I go (rep it everywhere I go)."

And given the fact that there's not much by way of real competition -- Spadina Bus, anyone? -- perhaps this is exactly what the city's musical lineage needs right now: an over-the-top, Wavin Flag-like track that proves Toronto isn't too shy to toot its own horn once in a while.

Check out the video and lyrics below:

Lyrics

(Chorus)
Eh, where you from Canada?
Everybody on the left
Everybody on the right
In the front and in the back
Let 'em know where you're from

I'm from the T dot Oh
Rep it everywhere I go (rep it everywhere I go)
Everybody from the cold (everybody from the cold)
This is where we're calling home (this is where we're calling home)

I'm from the T dot Oh
Rep it everywhere I go (rep it everywhere I go)
Million people at your door (million people at your door)
This is where we're calling home (this is where we're calling home)

(Verse1)
I'm from the T Dizzle Oh
Hot with the sizzle flows
Cold when the planes land in the dot oh
Home of the blocko, patois and proper english
Rep it like it's my gang, that's why I sing this
Bleed red and white like a Coca Cola Classic
Some people that I know have their couches in the plastic
Good people got blasted
So we pour a little liquor out and think about 'em while we plastered
Real figures here, never seen an Eskimo
Front in the wrong area, n----s might let it go
Yeah, I love where I'm from all 2.5 million
Sing out

[Chorus]

(Verse 2)
I'm from the depths of Scarborough
One ways of Vaughan Road
Apartments of Flemingdon, shadows in the PO
Every area reppin' the home team
My Italians hold me down, Africans same thing
Portugese get it in, Filipinos rock with me
Nuff Trinis and Yardees holding the block with me
So many faces like we the Winter Olympics
Greatest city ever, after dark you better think quick
Club district, parking lot politicking
We got hotter women than any city admitting
We number 1, check out the figures we getting
No apologies and never quitting

[Chorus]

(Verse 3)
Regent, Jungle, Vaughan Road, Malvern
Chester Le, Rexdale let the fire burn
If you from Toronto let me see you put a hand up
Born alone die alone, but I'm never on my own
Don't watch no face, stay true is what I was shown
I'm a product of OG's and social workers
3 years of University and Lick's Burgers
Harlem Underground, black owned businesses
Big It Up Hats, and immigrants from long distances
Working class people and some others with some privileges
Any way you look at it we seeing past differences
Yo, I am multiculture
Hand on my ear listening like the Hulkster
And all I'm hearing is we the greatest around
To the grave I'm a rep my town
Yeah


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