ARTICLE: Exclaim Magazine – Hip-Hop 2011: That Canadian Sound (By Del F. Cowie)

hyperadmin | Editorial | Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Nice likkle look at some of our local producers who are killin’ the game right now (in case you didn’t know…).

By Del F. Cowie

The amount of talent in Canada’s hip-hop production scene is ridiculously deep with talent and hip-hop heads around the world are beginning to notice. Here are just a few of the many Canadian producers who made a lot of noise in 2011.

Producing “I’m On One,” the inescapable summer hip-hop anthem featuring Drake, Lil’ Wayne and Rick Ross put the 22-year-old Ajax, ON protege of producer Boi-1da, born Tyler Williams, on everybody’s radar. This year T-Minus’s melodic production was also heard on Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life,” Lil’ Wayne’s “She Will” and five songs on Drake’s Take Care.

RICH KIDD (pictured)
When you are the first name uttered by Jay-Z’s recording engineer Young Guru as a new producer he rates highly, you’re doing something right. Prolific 23-year-old Toronto producer/MC Rich Kidd was again the model of heatrock consistency in 2011, producing countless tracks for Canadian artists like the Get By’s “Faster” and Tona’s “We Do” as well as making in-demand featured appearances on tracks like SonReal’s “Already There.” Rich Kidd also delivered the fifth consistently strong mixtape in his free download series We On Some Rich Kidd Shit, featuring Maestro Fresh Wes, k-os and Saukrates among many others.

Dalmeny, SK’s Muneshine produced virtually all of D-Sisive’s Polaris Prize long-listed Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye and contributed to his newest project Run With the Creeps. While his Larger Than Life collaboration with Dutch production team Vinyl Frontiers was an MCing project for Muneshine, fans of his dusty ’90s-influenced production shouldn’t fret. Upcoming material includes the Twin Peaks project with MC Ghettosocks and his solo album There is Only Today.

The 25-year-old from Ajax, Ontario who, along with Drake’s engineer Noah “40” Shebib, has been instrumental in directing recent widespread attention to Canada’s beatmakers, added a second Grammy to his shelf in 2011 for his production on Eminem’s Recovery. Much like Chin Injeti, Boi-1da is in wait and see mode to see if anything he contributed to Dr. Dre’s Detox will surface. In the meantime, he laid down tracks for albums by Game, DJ Khaled and Big Sean and produced “Headlines,” Drake’s Take Care leadoff single with Shebib.

In 2011, this Toronto producer and 50 Cent collaborator contributed two songs to Danny Brown’s XXX and cast Shad in a different sonic feel on “Flawless” from the Real Frequency’s The New North compilation. He also arranged Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band’s Nirvana cover “Stay Away” and has apparently been logging studio time with buzz-heavy jazz upstarts BadBadNotGood.

This former member of ’90s soul/R&B group Bass is Base snagged a Grammy in early 2011 for his work on Eminem’s Recovery after scoring work for Clipse and Jay-Z among others in recent years. Though the Surrey, BC native’s work contributed to Dr. Dre’s Detox with production partner DJ Khalil has yet to surface, he’s remained busy releasing a solo EP and joining Universal Music Canada as an A&R rep.


ARTICLE: HMV at 333 Yonge – An Oral History (By Evan Davies @

hyperadmin | Editorial,Music | Monday, August 29th, 2011


A pretty dope write-up on a store that helped shape me as a music lover and a Torontonian. Shouts to GridTO writer Evan Davies, all my fellow HMV alum and anyone that came through 333 in its heyday. If you’re interested in the important pieces that helped define The Mega’s 90s/early 2000s urban/hip-hop/indie scenes; and how the digital era (and finally the suits) changed these movements, this is a MUST read.

Check the full article HERE!

EDITORIAL: A Proposal For Next Year's Juno Awards (by Shadrach "Shad" Kabango)

hyperadmin | Editorial | Thursday, March 24th, 2011


Great piece Shad wrote for The Vancouver Sun newspaper, or…ended up there, or…doesn’t really matter cuz it’s on the web. Anyways, doubt this will ever happen at the Junos or any other major award show for that matter (shouts to people that aren’t forward thinking!) but I have seen an event or two that do celebrate local heroes while still incorporating music. Def agree that something on the same scale as the Junos would def be amazing though. That high school idea should get implemented ASAP too!

Oh yea, and Shad will be performing at Metro Square tonight as part of the week’s Juno festivities. Free concert. Chyea.


by Shadrach Kabango

So the Juno Awards are this weekend. I’ve been honoured with a nomination and I’ll also be presenting an award on the TV this time around. In light of these good times ahead, what I’d like to say may amount to sort of chipping at the branch I’m sitting on – but that’s alright.

I should start by saying that awards shows are fun; you get free food and sometimes free shoes. Secondly, I’d like to add that when I got my first Juno nod in 2008, it helped my career a great deal. And on top of all that, when you’re a struggling musician eating cheap pizza and sleeping on people’s floors three days a week, a little recognition can be a nice consolation. Fortunately at this point though, I only eat cheap pizza 1 or 2 times a week, and I’m privileged to get to purchase this pizza via work that I not only enjoy but also find some real purpose in. Moreover, every time I do my job – for example, play a show – a few hundred people clap and scream for me. Every three minutes. And I’m not even famous. So given all that, I can’t help but think that maybe we musicians can do without the hardware.

I remember one time in grade 7 or 8, my teacher remarked to my class that every day on the morning announcements we hear about how our school teams did and who the star players were, but they never announce that, say, so and so got a 98 on their chemistry exam. Or student x wrote a particularly well-argued paper on something important. It doesn’t make sense, he said. This is a school.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this analogy. And I know I’m not the first person to make this point, but just like the morning announcements at my junior. high school didn’t do much to promote education, in a world with a bunch of pressing concerns, musicians might attend three or four nationally broadcasted award shows in one year, while nurses and social workers who provide critical care might go to a work party at Christmas.


EDITORIAL: Toronto Hip Hop vs. The Toronto Media by Addi "Mindbender" Stewart

hyperadmin | Editorial | Monday, March 21st, 2011


Been feeling this way about NOW for years now so thanks to Mindbender for being the right person (he worked there and has written many articles for them) at the right time (now – no pun intended) to say something about it. Via FB.

Toronto Hip Hop vs. The Toronto Media – 2011: The Year Things Must Change Around Here

To NOW Magazine,

It’s time to go Tim Perlich on your music department. The incomprehensible void that represents your hip hop coverage needs to be addressed immediately. On the cover of your otherwise respectable and insightful publication, it says “Everything Toronto”. I emphatically challenge this claim on the grounds that, for months upon months, NOW Magazine’s support of the industry-standard-setting, world-class hip hop community has gone criminally unrecognized and disrespectfully ignored. There is no justification for not giving a drop of ink to virtually ANY of the rap artists or events in Toronto. On every level, you are failing local and international hip hop, week after week. You’ve had almost no hip hop event reviews, when Royce the 5’9″, Rah Digga, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey (J. Dilla’s mother!), Black Sheep, Buckshot, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Canibus, Jeru the Damaja, Ernie Paniccioli, Joe Budden and many more have all been here in the past two months. You’ve had almost no local album reviews, when D-Sisive, Rich Kidd, Empire, Cadence Weapon and other Canadian acts have released so much great music lately (at least you didn’t miss Buck 65). And you haven’t done an interview on a local hip hop artist/event in who knows how long. When the KOTD Rap Battle League has been featured on MTV, spans 5 cities across Canada, has millions of YouTube views, and has featured MCs from New York, California, Miami, and the UK, why have you never once featured KOTD in NOW? The same questions linger for ‘The Ultimate MC’ Freestyle contest on AUXTV, hosted by Bishop Brigante, now underway in 4 different Canadian cities. Your lack of support for our city’s hip hop scene is completely unacceptable, and on behalf of the community, I request you immediately improve your coverage. If you can critically assess society on every level, you must allow yourself to be critically assessed.

The most egregious example of your music department’s glaring flaws is found in this week’s CMW wrap-up. You review only the Jay Electronica concert, when CMW 2011 featured a few other hip hop acts (R.A. the Rugged Man, Angerville, Unknown Mizery, Mayhem Morearty, Made Wade, Magnum K.I., etc.). Yet your most blatant omission came when you failed to even do a concert review of your coveted cover story from last week, Janelle Monae. How she can headline a show with new school Canadian rap legend Shad K at the Royal York Hotel and you not have a writer there (to try and describe her phenomenal, sold-out concert’s Cirque du Soleil-like surreality) is beyond journalistic failure. And finally, Drake is the host of the upcoming Juno Awards here in Toronto at the Air Canada Center, and it would be a perfect opportunity to finally interview to him… if your music editor thought it was a story worth writing about. I would have been honored to do a “Mindbender Interviews Drake” article for you, and I think it would have been excellently received, like my RZA or Nas interviews were, or my 5-page “Representing the T-Dot” piece was. But my repeated offers to forget the unjust dismissal I received from the music editor a few years ago and continue to write for the magazine have been met with further rejection. I am STILL open to look past the problems and be part of the solution. I know what needs to be done, and I keep trying do my part to help around here… but there are people with power in entrenched positions in this city who don’t care to evolve the state of business and industry in our stifled city, and that’s why we are perpetually stuck in the same place, if not moving backwards, in our attempts to become the globally-respected musical mecca Toronto has had the potential to be for so very, very long.

Straight up and down: Toronto is arguably the best hip hop city in the world in 2011… but you wouldn’t know it by reading NOW. Don’t worry though, you are certainly not the only media outlet not supporting Canadian hip hop. But you used to be the best, so you must be held accountable first. I hope this laissez-faire attitude towards a huge segment of Toronto culture changes immediately, because you are missing out on nothing less than music world history unfolding by sleeping on Toronto hip hop in 2011.

If you need help from the hip hop community, we would be happy to provide it to you. All you need to do is accept it.

in love and honesty:

sincerely yours truly,

Addi “Mindbender” Stewart

EDITORIAL: The Fire in Which You Burn: Me, the Radio and OTA Live

hyperadmin | Editorial | Sunday, February 13th, 2011


Personal piece the fam Chris Cromie did for HHC on, well….us. Don’t think we actually even mentioned it on this site, but thanks again to everyone for all the LOVE.

Toronto, ON – Growing up in the UK my favourite radio station was a channel called, lacking a degree of originality, Radio 1. They were funded by the British government who owned a set of stations, five of them in fact. Radio 1 was their musical flagship, playing the best in new music and always on the cutting edge. But they were more than just a music station to me. Much more. I’d give a North American equivalent, but to be honest there isn’t one. I guess the closest you could get is if you mixed the popularity of New York’s Hot 97 with the sensibilities of CBC radio. It was also the place I heard hip-hop for the first time. The place, the time, the medium. I coveted my brother’s boombox like no other item and was under strict instruction not to touch it, so naturally when he wasn’t around it was the first thing I’d go for. He always kept a stack of old, new and freshly dubbed cassettes next to it. Yeah, cassettes.

We very well could be talking about a time before some of you reading this were even born, and yet it feels like last week to me. The 80s were morphing into the 90s and everybody wanted to be like Mike. Tyson, Jordan, Jackson (note: if you subconsciously finished this line “…action, pack guns/ridiculous” then you’re winning at life right about now). Rap was changing too. The music was shifting from electronic synths and sparse drums to layered walls of sound, thanks to champion producers like Prince Paul, the Bomb Squad and Dr. Dre. My brother liked all types of music, so he’d tape the late-night sessions on Radio 1. They were shows manned by specialist DJs who played an eclectic mix of tunes from Britain, the European continent and the United States. One night he was out late with friends. I predictably took this as my cue and scampered up to our room with mischief in mind. I flipped through his tapes and looked for one with the recording pin removed. This meant he’d just taped it and wanted to prevent anyone from dubbing over it. When he was done, he’d ball up paper to fill in the recording hole and the cipher would complete. I grabbed a tape, threw it in the box and hit play. Kerrrr-click. “Nineteen. Eighty. NINE-the number/another summer…” I can’t tell you how I felt the moment I heard my first hip-hop song; I can only tell you that I kept playing it. And playing it. I hid the cassette to ensure my brother didn’t dub over my new treasure and eventually played it so much the tape snapped.


VIDEO: Pound For Pound – Mayoral Battle (feat. Blake Carrington, L, Smash Brovaz & Rich Kidd)

hyperadmin | Community,Editorial,Interviews,Music,Video | Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Aw shit; here we go, lol!


Humble city dwellers,

After 10 years of existing only in print, the first live installment of Pound for Pound is finally here (like, OMG).

The subject: our upcoming mayoral election (you know, that impeding collective trauma that will take place on Monday, October 25, 2010).

The participants: some of Toronto’s finest MCs representing some of Toronto’s finest mayoral candidates. They are:

Blake Carrington as George Smitherman a.k.a. Smitty
L as Rocco Rossi a.k.a. Roc Ross
Smash Brovaz as Joe Pantalone a.k.a. Joe Pants
Rich Kidd as Rob Ford a.k.a The Notorious R.O.B.

A warning to our fair city? Or just another hilarious Pound escapade? You decide.

Pound For Pound – Mayoral Edition

OPINION: In Defense of Drake Pt. V: Flows & Pawns – The Flows Edition (By Chris Shaban)

hyperadmin | Editorial,Music | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Chris Shaban is back with Part V of his on going commentary on Drizzy, and yet it’s Part 1 of something new – The Flows Edition. To get the full ‘Footnotes’ experience of Shabby’s editorials, hit up his blog –

In Defense of Drake: ‘Flows & Pawns’ – The Flows Edition

Is Drake the most important thing to happen to the city of Toronto in the last 10 years?

More on that in a second… First, let me briefly catch you up. The foonotes* idea is the same, just scroll over the words in red. I went a little trigger-happy on the links this time, still in blue. Let me know what you think.

Now, some quick personal house keeping…

Okay, so I’m just going to come right out with it…. I quit smoking chronicWow, it hurts even more when I write it.. Booze too… Hey, it’s not that funny, get up off the floorAshton… . I know, I’ve heard it before too, but the Lord gave me a Malcolm X type cease and desist orderYou know, By Any Means Necessary, so I had to ride. And straight up, I wouldn’t put it in writing if this were some sort of Snoop Dogg I hope you guys caught his show with Rebel Emergency on the 7th at Guv. exit. I will say this though, the plan is to stay the course till at least May 2011 and I’ll leave it at that“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott… Sucks that this is the last year for him on The Office, but it’s always better to go out on top… at least, that’s what she said. . God works in mysterious ways… but more often He uses the ever-popular ‘sledgehammer-to-the-dome’ technique.

One last quick thing before I dive into the new editionRonnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike…. And Ralph, and Johnny… Word to Maurice Starr. of this Drake piece, I want to take a moment to tell you how much I love Manchester Orchestra. I am going to go on record and say that they could possibly be the best band out right nowAlthough I’ve known about them for sometime, their ‘Live from Soho’ album and recent Adam Carolla interview sealed the deal. The link to that interview is at the end of this article, flash up to the 57:30 mark. PS – I know I’m old when I didn’t realize how big Adam Carolla’s podcasts were until I read it in Fast Company like 3 months ago. You turn 30 and everything’s all Ensure and Depends.. I’m sorry F3’s that I’m bringing them two years too late, but if I could cook their tracks on a spoon and shoot it in my veins, I wouldGive up green and liquid but move to junk… nice upgrade Shabby. Do yourself a favour and cop the album ‘Mean Everything to Nothing’ immediatelyA little birdie told me that they are in Nashville at Blackbird studios boiling up that crack again, so keep your eyes wide for some new joints in the near future.. Peep game from the opening cut off the album, ‘The Only One’: “I am the only son of a pastor I know, who does the things I do. But if it was you, I don’t think that it would matter, oh and if it was true, then I just wouldn’t matter.” I’m not sure you can understand how deep that statement is, or how much he probably means it, but it’s that honesty that makes them tick. Funny thing is, the pastor he’s talking about is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever metMy guess is that Andy would agree with me on that… Also, on a completely related topic, the Hull’s have an excellent ‘no charge’ washroom deal if you’re ever in Atlanta. Thing is it’s only for the month of August, so that’s where I was from the 16th to the 20th. FYI – When I go away don’t rob my house… the Whitby one either… Pete will beat you up. If you’re able to beat him up, please make sure he cuts the lawn.. Shab Sidebar: Read ‘Pivotal Praying

Now, for all you youngsters out there, right here on FarBeyond footnotes*, what you’ve all been waiting for, the return of ‘In Defense of Drake’.

Just to bring us back to the same page, I’ll RT the opening question, Is Drake the most important thing to happen to the city of Toronto in the last 10 years?

Read the full Shabby after the jump!

Previously: OPINION: In Defense of Drake Pt. IV (By Chris Shaban)


EDITORIAL: Urban Music in Toronto Takes Front Stage by Kern Carter

hyperadmin | Editorial | Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Nice likkle editorial piece by Kern Carter about the city’s music scene (which is on fire btw).

It’s become clear that hip hop music is shining its spotlight north of the boarder, and particularly in the city of Toronto. Over the past few years, we have seen a number of artists and producers burst into the mainstream to become stars, and countless more waiting their turn to become the next big thing to make it out of the city. With so much rising talent to choose from, it’s no wonder Toronto has the ear of the industry and the attention of the world.

Toronto New City of Urban Music

Urban music has made its rounds across America, continually seraching for the next wave of talent to lead the industry with fresh sounds and new energy; from New York to LA, to Atlanta and the rest of the south, and now finally to the Canadian city of Toronto. In all of its travels, it has been the up and coming talent that have driven these cities to prominence; be it a young Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Outkast and TI, No Limit and Cash Money, it is the young talent that push their cities forward and eventually become household names.

Toronto Filled With Outstanding Young Musical Talent

Toronto is no different. With Drake leading the way, and K’Naan beginning to take off, there is a cast of rising artists anxious to step into the spotlight and capitalize on a booming industry. As far as rappers go, P Reign and JD Era are the most talked about in the city. P Reign is currently on the Canadian leg of Drake’s tour, while Era has what most will agree is the hottest single in the city with the Beat Merchant produced, “You Know This.” Page is another Toronto bred rapper that has already enjoyed some commercial success with his “So Fly” track that made a strong run on Canadian and U.S airwaves, and his recent feud with Drake has again thrust him into the spotlight.


EDITORIAL: Saukrates Cover Story in Sway Magazine (By Del F. Cowie)

hyperadmin | Editorial | Monday, July 19th, 2010

Recently, I had the chance to speak with Saukrates at length for Sway magazine’s Caribana issue. We delved into a lot of topics including his childhood, his struggles, being a father and what to expect from his upcoming album Season One.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Saukrates of Season One. “I was dying to find a way to start again and keep it fresh for those who aren’t familiar, but also to show the diehard fans that it ain’t over.”

Read the interview

EDITORIAL: "Why Musicians Should Never Give Music Away For Free” (by Jon Ostrow)

hyperadmin | Editorial,Music | Tuesday, July 13th, 2010


Via HHC! from TMB!

Y’all already know my stance on this topic and the importance of always receiving TANGIBLE returns for your music.

Here’s some more practical fuel to the argument from Mic-Control co-founder Jon Ostrow.

At this point, most emerging artists are familiar with the (potential) benefits of giving their music away for free:

  • Maximizes the possibility of discovery
  • Free Advertising
  • Can create viral-buzz about your music

But in reality, unless you already possess a large fan-base along with the subsequent reach, giving your music away will be the last you hear from most new “fans.” This situation is only ideal for artists who have successfully converted people from fans to loyalists – those who not only want to share this music with others, but who actively seek out others who share a common interest in the music. If you are not at this level on a large scale, consider using a slightly different strategy.

What you need, is a way to turn this seemingly one-sided transaction, into one that is mutually beneficial. You essentially want to continue charging for your product, but in a way that replaces value in terms of money with that of brand growth. Consider charging for your music using social currency, which would put you in the position to receive a tangible return that would increase your reputation and reach, rather than increase your bank account.

Full article after the jump!


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