jimmy prime

10 up and coming hip hop artists in Toronto

There are plenty of young, up and coming hip hop artists in Toronto. The city's hip hop scene is currently going through a bit of a renaissance; with hometown hero Drake at the height of his international stardom, the spotlight has begun shining on Toronto's underground. These artists are experimenting with a variety of sounds in hopes of striking while the iron is hot.

Here are my picks for the top up and coming hip hop artists in Toronto.

Roy Wood$
It's been a big year for Roy Wood$. After signing to Drake's record label, OVO Sound, and dropping his debut EP, Exis, Roy is sitting pretty. His moody brand of hip hop/R&B fusion has garnered him a lot of attention, and not too long ago he announced that his next project, Waking at Dawn, is on the way.

Sean Leon
Founder of the IXXI initiative in Toronto, Sean Leon is one of the more exciting hip hop artists in Toronto right now. Having worked with fellow Torontonians BADBADNOTGOOD and Daniel Caesar, Leon is gearing up for the release of his next project, Black Sheep Nirvana. Keep your eyes on this guy.

TRIPSIXX is a member of UTU, the OVO affiliated collective which includes Roy Wood$. He blurs the lines between singing and rapping on his latest EP, We Own The Night, a collection of high-energy, melodic trap cuts. I'm sure we'll be hearing from from TRIPSIXX in the near future.

Jahkoy is a promising young talent, and another example of an artist who's very comfortable with both rapping and singing. He uses this skill tastefully, incorporating elements of R&B and up-tempo dance music that gives his tracks contagious amounts of energy.

$ha Hustle
$ha Hustle is another Toronto artist who's got ties to OVO. He's an affiliate of P. Reign's Reps Up collective, and has been making moves in Toronto's underground for a while now. According to his Soundcloud, $ha expresses himself "through any form of art, whether [it's] producing, shootin' videos, rapping or singing."

Kieta Juma
Kieta Juma is a Missisauga based rapper, producer, and DJ. His music is an eclectic mash-up of genres, drawing influence from hip hop, electronic, and grime to name a few. He's certainly one of the most unique hip hop artists making noise in the city, and he's planning to release another project this summer.

SAFE came seemingly out of no-where, uploading his first song to SoundCloud less than a year ago. Since then, he's gotten nods from the OVO camp, released an eight-track EP, titled Stay Down, and sold out the Mod Club. Impressive to say the least.

Jimmy Prime
Jimmy Prime can be given credit for nicknaming Toronto "The 6," a term that has become synonymous with Drake and the Toronto hip hop scene at large. Jimmy raps with a lisp, something that makes him unique compared to a lot of other artists. Sometimes his music is dark and gritty, other times it's smooth and more reserved.

Clairmont The Second
Clairmont The Second is a recent high-school graduate. He's young, which makes his success even more impressive. He's released several mixtapes, and about a month ago he jumped on a track with Toronto producer Harrison, a good sign that the young MC is just getting warmed up.

This Mississauga rapper landed firmly in the spotlight when a Drake cover of his slow jam Sweeterman surfaced last spring. Drizzy cleaned up some of the wildly immature verses (check out the original video) as the cover went on to rack up 10 million views on YouTube, but to listen to the original is to hear a then 21-year-old brimming with talent.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for Toronto's top up-and-coming hip hop artists in the comments.

Writing by Adam Pugsley. Photo of Jimmy Prime.

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