toronto rap groups

5 lost Toronto rap groups due for a comeback

Hip-hop used to be more of a team sport. While now most acts are soloists loosely connected to a collective they can lean on for feature verses or co-signs, there was a time the rap group flourished -- and Toronto produced its fair share.

Here are five Toronto rap groups whose life spans were too short.

Ghetto Concept
Rexdale's Kwajo Cinqo, Dolo and early member Infinite took home back-to-back Junos in 1995 and 1996 for a pair of street smashes, "Certified" and "E-Z on the Motion." A solid but too-late self-titled full album didn't arrive until 1998 and output petered off after 2002's 7 Bill$ All-Stars crew effort. There was magic in those broke-but-hungry, mid-'90s records.



Nefarius
Bubbling with a raw blend of wit, honesty and wildness, the trio of Kwesro (RIP), DJ Don D & M.C. Collizhun dropped a mini bomb in the late-'90s with their Tough Dumplin' (Foundation for better Beats) EP. Though their unpolished battle-rap stylings never crossed over, that was never the M.O. of Collizhun & Co. Nefarius was more concerned with calling out phoniness in the city and in the industry.



Main Source
Those stuck-in-the'90s diehards at the Opera House on a cold December night in 2002 won't forget the Main Source 10-year reunion, as New York's Large Professor ripped rhymes over beats and scratches by T.O.'s K-Cut and Sir Scratch. Though Large Pro would go on to more success after the trio split, 1991's Breaking Atoms remains one of the most perfect East Coast rap albums.



Redlife
The mid-'90s Rexdale duo of Cryp2nite (a.k.a. Action) and Remey stirred noise with a string of undeniable singles, such as "Yagga Yaw Yaw" (featuring Saukrates), "Ya Done Know" and "Who's Talking Weight." But shortly after their one-and-done album, 1999's Exodus Prt. II, they essentially vanished. We're still wanting more.



Da Grassroots
The three-headed beat factory of Mr. Attic, Mr. Murray and Swiff pursued solo endeavours after contributing production to almost every significant Toronto hip-hop act of the '90s (Maestro, Choclair, Dream Warriors, Ghetto Concept, more). Before splitting, however, they treated underground heads to their impeccable Passage Through Time LP.

Who did I miss? Add your favourite lost Toronto rap groups in the comments.


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