10 can't-miss hip hop shows coming up in Toronto

From Public Enemy to OVO Fest to MIA it's been a pretty good year for big name hip hop acts coming through Toronto. And while winter slows touring down for artists of every genre, local rap fans will still be getting spoiled over the next few months. Seasons change, mad things rearrange, but one thing that remains the same is a strong selection of quality hip hop in Toronto. From golden era legends to present day international icons and up and coming talent, it'll be easy to get your fill.

Here are 10 upcoming hip hop shows in Toronto to look forward to.

MASEO (DE LA SOUL) vs ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMED (A TRIBE CALLED QUEST) / DANFORTH MUSIC HALL / NOV 8 / 9PM / $28.50
This is just one of the many events taking place this weekend for the Redbull Thre3Style World DJ Championships. For those who haven't experienced a DJ show with 4 turntables and 2 DJs feeding off each other's energy, this is the place to get your feet wet. These two pioneering DJs were the backbone of their respective groups, both of which were a part of the Native Tongues collective in the late 80s and early 90s. As a special bonus, DJ Cosmo Baker will also be getting into the mix to drop some knowledge of his own.

ROCKIE FRESH & LUNICE / TATTOO ROCK PARLOUR / NOV 11 / 8PM / $20
Rockie Fresh, another Chicago native, invades Toronto this month along with Montreal-based hip hop production tycoon Lunice. Rockie's buzz is at an all time high since recently signing with Rick Ross' Maybach Music, while Lunice, one half of TNGHT, is hands down one of the most energetic live DJs in the game. The event is being promoted by the notorious Comeback Season Kids — all signs pointing to this night turning into a sweaty mess of high energy.

PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH W CAMP LO / PHOENIX / NOV 11 / 7PM / $30
Hip hop heads unite for Mecca and the Soul Brother! Although it's the same night as Rockie Fresh & Lunice, it's unlikely that there will be an overlap of audiences. This golden era producer-MC duo are sure to stir up nostalgia, and take new fans on a journey of smooth jazzy rap classics. Bronx-based rap duo Camp Lo, known for their mid '90s hit "Luchini AKA This Is It" will be warming up the stage before hand.

MAC MILLER - SOUND ACADEMY / NOV 15 / 8PM / $34.50 - $44.50
Fresh off a few tour dates with Lil Wayne in Germany, Mac Miller is coming back to Toronto for what will be one of five Canadian dates. From internet sensation to having his own MTV reality show, Mac Miller has truly taken over. Everybody knows Mac — young hip hop heads appreciate his candor, the university crowd embraces his care free nature, and his 420 friendliness keeps Cypress Hill fans close too. He just put out a strange new Madlib-esque project called Delusional Thomas, we'll see how that will mix into the show. Head down to Sound Academy to see what a global takeover is all about.

WU TANG CLAN'S 20tTH ANNIVERSARY TOUR / KOOL HAUS / NOV 28 / 8PM / $90
What a rarity this night will be! On a tour celebrating 20 years since the release of their classic album Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), the whole group will reunite on stage at Kool Haus. One can only assume that they will perform 36 Chambers in its entirety, plus an endless arsenal of rugged bangers beyond that. Some might be annoyed with tickets starting at almost a bill, but this is no ordinary show and who knows when you'll have a chance to see this legendary ensemble come together again.

BLACKALICIOUS / ADELAIDE HALL / DEC 7 / 9PM / $25
Hailing from Sacramento, California, this duo of DJ/producer Chief Xcel and rapper Gift of Gab have been pleasing underground heads for almost two decades. Their music has always been uplifting and positive and the lyrics have been complex, woven with incredible wordplay. Their new EP Sun Giver, which is supposed to drop later this year, will be their first release since 2005. Come through to hear the old and check the new. One of the most active local hip hop acts, Philly Moves, will be opening up the evening.

KOOL G RAP & AZ - THE ROCKPILE WEST / DEC 11 / 8PM / $40
Chances are Kool G Rap is your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. He's often called one of the most important MCs of his era and has been cited as a major influence by the likes of Biggie, Eminem, and even Jay Z: "hearing me rap is like hearing G Rap in his prime." He appeared on The Symphony in 1988 and went on to pave the road for lyrical gangster rap. Joining him is AZ, probably one of the most underrated rappers of all time and original member of The Firm with Nas, Cormega, Foxy Brown, and Nature. A lot of history under one roof.

KANYE WEST W/ KENDRICK LAMAR / AIR CANADA CENTRE / DEC 22 - 23 / 7PM / $37.50 - $196.75
For two consecutive nights Kanye West will take over the Air Canada Center for his Yeezus tour, which critics are calling a theatrical roller-coaster. The tour had a bit of a hiccup in Vancouver after an integral part of the stage equipment was damaged in transit. Everything is on track for Toronto though, and fans should be prepared for larger than life light shows, intertwined with cinematic interludes and a whole mix of songs from Yeezy's stylistically varied releases. Although his outbursts have stirred up controversy and some find it hard to look past his egomania, it is hard to deny his massive influence on pop culture in the 2000s. As if that wasn't enough, he's bringing King Kendrick with him to get things started.

JAY Z MAGNA CARTA WORLD TOUR / AIR CANADA CENTRE / JAN 27 / 8PM / $32.50 - $150
He changed the game by releasing Magna Carta as a free digital download through an app exclusively available to Samsung customers, certifying the album platinum in just one day. Another point for Jay Z the businessman! The music on the album, however, was met with mixed reviews, while die hard fans still praised it as being innovative. This show is bound to a big production and you can probably expect some special featured artists throughout the night.

SHAD / DANFORTH MUSIC HALL / JAN 31 / 8PM / $18.50 - $23.50
If you missed out on what Shad did to the Opera House not long ago, this your chance to make up for it. He's at the top of his game since releasing Flying Colours and an upcoming video for the single "Remember To Remember" featuring Lights is sure to send him even higher. His music is relatable and his following is loyal and always growing stronger.

What upcoming hip hop shows are you excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Photo of Shad by Hannah Jor


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