Since Drake‘s rise to super-stardom, he has broken down a lot of doors for Toronto to be considered a city full of prime urban talent. We are still years away from becoming one of the world’s elite but we have plenty of emerging artists, some more currently known than others, who are already looking to establish themselves as our core group of prominent, future entertainers. When we are talking about who has blown up, Drake and The Weeknd are the only two. You can blame our nickname of “Screwface Capital” for that all you want, but the lack of real support for local artists in big music cities like New York and Los Angeles is the same, you just don’t realize it. Yes, the opportunities are greater outside of Canada, but how many artists from those cities do you listen to that don’t have an established name? There’s probably a handful of you that will disagree just to be hipster, but this is music, and music is business at the end of the day. These artists I put together are the one’s who I feel are capable of (if haven’t already) signing imminent, substantial deals to bring and share more capital to the city which will allow us to grow the right way. Then again, that’s just my opinion.
Moving on, similar to my post about 10 Toronto Producers To Watch, I have put together 10 Toronto Artists To Watch in no particular order. There are obviously more whom I and many others are fans of and support, so there’s no need to feel some type of way if you or your homie isn’t on here, even though I know you will because, this is Toronto right?
John River is one of Toronto’s youngest and newer talents. When it comes down to who wants it the most, without question he’s a name to be mentioned. There’s message in his rhymes and his strong desire to be heard will only help him do so in the future. Can’t wait for what he has in store this year!
Raz Fresco has that sound New York has been struggling to find themselves for some time now. Being heavily influenced by the 90s generation of rap, the Bakers Club commissioner unfortunately grew up in the wrong era, but when you listen to his music, you can hear how he maintains to stay ahead of his time. Would he be accepted more if he was native to The Big Apple? Who knows, but he has definitely put in enough work to create a solid buzz and foundation for himself and his crew to continue to steadily grow and make a helluva lot more noise this year.
Sean Leon dropped his debut project in 2013 which caught the attention of myself and many others. He makes incredible music for a relatively new artist and with a large, solid and supportive team around him, I don’t see him losing. Watch out for him this year, he has a point to prove.
The 6th Letter
The 6th Letter comes in similar to Raz Fresco. He first caught my attention opening up for some big name acts with his g-funky flow and vintage appearance. Another youngster heavily influenced by the 90s era but that is not a problem as he brings a sonically fresh rhythm to his music. The Bakers Club member is two singles into his upcoming “NorthernPlayalisticGetHighMuzik” album, both of which will get you enthusiastic about the new music to come.
P Reign had a pretty low key 2013. His long awaited “Dear America” project was originally scheduled for a July 4th release but was postponed indefinitely last minute. Having released his single “We Them” featuring ASAP Rocky, he finally started giving it that official push as it debuted on 106 & Park a few Fridays ago. The Reps Up ambassador has built a solid name for himself in Toronto with plenty of radio play, but now it looks like Drake’s statement on “We Made It” is coming to fruition. Watch G-Way go crazy in 2014.
Derek Wise caught on quick with the release of his debut project “Vacay” in 2012. Last year went by with a few great miscellaneous releases still getting my play counts, but no word of when his follow up project “Mom’s Basement” would officially arrive. Lets hope 2014 is full of new music from the 20 year old Wise Guy because I am eager to hear it.
Now you can sit there and think PARTYNEXTDOOR has it made and has “blown up” already due to his signing with OVO Sound, but really, the kid has released one project from what I see to be a long, successful career. He’s 20 years old, writes and produces his own music, and the scary thing about it all is that he’s only going to get better. I see potential in him to turn into an international superstar and kill the music game for years to come, so just wait for that new shit to drop in 2014 and try and call me a liar.
The Airplane Boys
The Airplane Boys have built a strong foundation for themselves over the years, and not just locally as the duo have toured their asses off and even touched the stage at Coachella. With a couple of heavily played projects under their wing, and a new one on the way to start their 2014 campaign, they are going to continue to gain new fans as their music and art keeps on developing at a substantial rate.
Devon Tracy is another young artist on the rise. Having a musical and dance background has helped him create his own little cult following which you have to respect. Having dropped solid music over the years that keeps evolving, and countless remixes to keep his name relevant, 2014 looks promising for him as he is currently prepping his new body of original work.
Now these two don’t come as a pair, but they are frequent collaborators and I ran out of space and wanted to place them both on here. Vital dropped an amazing project last year, which probably slipped past your radar, with the release of his “Destined To Be” mixtape, and Raheem is gearing up to give us his new project “Dying To Live Forever” next week. Two fresh artists to keep your eye on.