Who’s Got Next? 2011 – Stylus SpinFest [Article]
Check out this year’s Who’s Got Next class featuring 16 incredibly talented Canadian artists featured on the 2011 Who’s Got Next? CD compilation. Stylus SpinFest 2011 is taking place from May 27th to May 30th. Throughout the duration of Stylus Weekend 1500 manufactured CDs will be distributed at all sponsored Stylus SpinFest events. This is an opportunity designed to also help break artists by getting this CD in the hands of DJs and industry tastemakers nationwide. Check out the 2011 Who’s Got Next roster after the jump. Who’s Got Next? is a collaboration between the Stylus Group and HipHopCanada.com.
Who’s Got Next 2011
Please note: The biographies below were provided by the artist. Formatting and style is inconsistent from profile to profile.
Set2’s sound is big. Over the top but still fighting for his spot, he’s warring for your ear. Unapologetically blunt, he got a lot to say and even more ways to say it. Somewhere between a charismatic color commentator, an insightful poet and crowd moving master of ceremonies – there’s Set2 and his microphone. He chomps on beats and rides his own rhythm. He conveys intelligent wittiness powered by his ‘nothing to lose’ attitude. Headstrong yet reflective, he raps like it’s his last – his last minute on the mic, his last second on the stage, his last record on the radio. And it’s been on the back of this fearless authenticity that Set2’s garnered startling acclaim in just a short time. Set2’s big.
The Toronto native shook up the scene in 2006, immediately securing medium rotation on Canada’s #1 radio station with his debut single “Oh Yea” featuring Rochester. It was a swift move into regional recognition, but one Set wanted since he’d seen Busta Rhymes perform as a teenager.
“I realized the energy that music could create with people,” says Set2 thinking back. “I was watching guys in the neighbourhood try their music thing too, but when I saw my first live show the depth that was possible in music really hit me. I could move people, I could make them laugh, I could make them want the feeling I was having watching Busta. So I started rapping.”
Set gained considerable recognition over the next few years. He quickly released a mixtape called Ignorant Education, and set the college radio circuit ablaze making constant appearances on Toronto staples Project Bounce, Crack House Radio & Off Da Tracks. He even enlisted Canadian music veterans Jelleestone and Snow for the remix to his debut single “Oh Yea.”
Once again, his ‘now or never’ energy resonated with fans and fellow artists alike. Set started getting requests for features from other local artists and continued his buzz releasing his second mixtape Full Time Hustler Vol 1. Death of Wack Rap.The tape was hosted by heavyweights DJ Power & DJ Rock Da House giving him another set of credible co-signs.
Set2’s participated in live radio ciphers with some of Toronto’s best up and coming artists, appeared on several street DVDs and graced the stage at HipHopCanada’s Importfest, Drift Mania, Battle of the Beatmakers and OTA Live’s Megacity Countdown Launch party.
He also anchored a landmark mixtape in partnership with Hiphopcanada.com and proved he was a pioneer in soliciting fan participation in his creative process. Each week, users lobbed potential instrumentals at him. Each week, he produced a freestyle in response. And after a few months, the first ever HipHopCanada Presents: Artist Exclusive Set2 was released.
“Set2 took a big risk by letting our users choose which beats he’d rap on,” says Jesse Plunkett, HipHopCanada co-owner. “He came through though. I think he really feeds off his audience’s energy. This was a perfect example.”
With such an innovative viral marketing campaign in full swing, Set2 released “Boro Branded,” an ode to his area in the east end of Toronto called Scarborough. The song was immediately picked up by Flow 93.5 along with the college radio shows he’d built strong relationships with. Fellow Toronto artists began recording their own versions of the song which only served to heighten its popularity.
Set2 then took a self imposed hiatus, while also building his own home studio. His passion had grown too time-consuming for professional studio use, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. After the short hiatus, Set2 returned in 2009 releasing “Bom Bom,” returning to his ‘big sound.’ He secured digital distribution for the single through HipHopCanada Digital.
“What do I have to lose?” says Set2 defiantly. “Shoot, nobody expected me to make things happen like I did out the gate anyway. Now nobody should expect anything less to happen. This is the time to pay attention.”
Set2’s latest single is “Back On Da Scene.” Back like he never left.
Sinotra is an extremely diverse artist with crooning melodies and intricate raps, Sinotra brings 11 years of rhyming experience to form a fresh sound that is yet to be heard. Sinotra is a true entertainer determined to present you with his raw abilities; his thunderous stage presence comes from being overlooked for so many years while his glitzy personality comes from the frustration of constantly being told his place in life. His all out attitude is that of a man expected to fail, but with all too much to live for. Raised in a Nova Scotian household, and hailing from the Lawrence Heights Community better known as Jungle City, Sinotra represents the next level of talent emerging from Toronto.
As his name suggests, Sinotra has a rich background in music. When he was younger, he honed his harmonies singing at his local church. Growing up in a soulful household of classic music, it wasnt rare for him to hear the sounds of James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Caesar, Phil Collins, or Bob Marley coming from his parents speakers. Mix that in with more recent influences such as Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, and the late great Biggie Smalls, you can truly hear how Sinotras sound is shaped by the best artists out there.
Sinotra has always found a way to turn his childhood emotions into passionate and feel good music. He credits the adversity and triumph he has undergone for who he is today; a creative, positive individual who is making something of his life. His guidance comes from great world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mohammed Ali to more local, yet equally important influences such as his parents and his 5th grade English teacher. Sinotra has learned from these role models, heeded their words of wisdom, and translated them into his own expressions of knowledge.
Sinotra is an alumnus of the Remix Project which has also led him to speak at the UN habitat conference that took place in Durban, South Africa. He has countless album features, and appeared on numerous mix tapes, most recently the North American smash Bridge in the Gap series VA to T.O volumes 2 and 3. Sinotra also appeared on Canadas own Much Music with guest judge Jay-Z who referred to Sinotra as Great. He has also worked with the world-renowned fashion designer Marc Ecko on his I Am Unlimited campaign; the theme song Just follow your Dreams is composed and recorded by none other than Sinotra. He has also reached rotation on Torontos commercial radio station Flow 93.5. Sinotra continues to record and add to his already 30 plus songs on standby, while he is creating his first solo album for the masses. He will keep his name buzzing with mix tapes and various performances.
Taking notice to the impact he has had on his community, the CBC called upon him to do a track speaking about the revitalization issues currently taking place in the Lawrence Heights community. Not only does Sinotra bring a unique delivery and unmatched energy on stage, but his rhymes deal with everything that surrounds him. Lifes aspirations, dreams, and nightmares, past occurrences, and relationships all form his diverse subject matter. With a unique mindset, he strives to be a positive role model for the new generation of youth. As an up and coming Canadian artist, Sinotra is ready to leave his ferocious past behind him, and transfer his pent up energy into a positive force, proving that he is the all around artist, entertainer and lyricist needed to rejuvenate the scene in Canada.
Without a doubt JR Mint is one of the most enigmatic and exciting artists working in the industry today. Hailing from Toronto, but with an appetite for global domination, Mint has proven himself as an artist with the kind of talent that proves infectious to any and all that encounter it. Whether it was opening up his own recording studio, Belvia Sound, or opening for acts like The Roots, and Jay Electronica, JR Mint has invested every resource available to him in the interest of supporting, contributing to, and expanding the canon of . With the release of his full-length record, ‘Canadian Mint’, JR Mint has caught the ear of industry players and fans alike with a collection of 16 genre-shattering tracks – featuring artists like Smoke DZA, Freck Billionaire, and JD Era – JR Mint brings the listener along for the ride as he ascends to the upper stratosphere of artistry.
Born in Toronto Canada, this singer/songwriter is setting the stage to make waves in the R&B world. Growing up under the musical influence of her father, renowned gospel singer George Banton, it was only natural that she gravitated to the soul and feeling of R&B music. She began writing at the tender age of 10 and started carrying a pen and paper with her everywhere. By doing so, she honed her skills to write about not only her life but what went on around her and it’s been a testament to why her lyrics are so genuine. She went on to record many of her own songs in hopes of gaining exposure for not only her vocal talent but her incredible writing ability as well. In an industry where the soul and conviction seems to be lost, Lisa is an artist that helps you believe that there’s still hope. Her sound is often compared to R&B greats such as Mary J Blige and Faith Evans, and is definitely a product of what music used to be and what is needed right now in the present. With the release of her new 2011 hit single ‘Better Without You’ as a follow up to her mixtape ‘Mirror Mirror Vol 1’, a soulful voice with raw emotion is just one of the many ways to describe the amazing sound of Lisa Banton.
Since the beginning, the sounds of music have flown through the veins of Ritchie “Rich Kidd” Acheampong. As a gifted producer and emcee, Rich Kidd embodies his namesake, but more metaphorically than literally. With production skills that rivals some of the industry’s best and blessed with an abundance of musical talent, Rich Kidd routs anything he puts his mind to.
Born April 28th, 1987 and native to Mississauga’s well-known projects on Ridgeway Drive, Rich Kidd has spent his years building up the accolades and reputation that keep his name acclaimed in Toronto. His notoriously hypnotic, head-nodding, dramatic soundscapes have reached the ears of diverse and esteemed artists such as: Drake, Busta Rhymes, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Bishop Brigante, Ill Bill, Raekwon, Cutty Ranks and Sizzla. To add to his list of music credentials, he has spawned a multitude of singles and, at the tender age of 23, has both an Australian and Canadian tour under his belt.
As a teenager, Rich Kidd was part of a five-man collective called Rotten Onez. Independently, the group built a formidable buzz across the city of Toronto, establishing a presence on college radio with material from their block-burning mixtape Screwface Capital. Soon after the mixtape dropped, Rich Kidd met Courtney “Uno” Allen, founder of Ridgeway Entertainment, who instantly recognized the world-class talent in the young artist and became Kidd’s manager. It was then that Rich Kidd’s future as a prominent producer/emcee was more appealing than before: he had an undeniable power, and his sound was addictive.
But Ritchie Acheampong could do much more: his swift, sharp and street-savvy style of rhyme became a force to be reckoned with. Upon release from a brief stint in prison, he attacked the mic with a vengeance. In 2007, success came faster and furious. Releasing the fan-favorite popular compilation “We On Some Rich Kidd Sh*t”, featuring over two dozen of the songs he was instrumental in creating, the Rich Kidd empire became a satisfying showcase of growing talent by of one of Canada’s most revered producers. “We On Some Rich Kidd Sh*t Part 2” came in the summer of 2008, and the stacked mixtape continued the young Saukrates-prodigy’s reign of terror, propelling him higher into the echelon of artists rising from the untapped talent banks of Toronto, Ontario. Busta Rhymes and Billy Danze of M.O.P. were the next MC’s in to tap into Rich Kidd’s repertoire, using one of his beats for the mixtape burner “Undescribable”. Soon after, in 2009, respected Canadian artist K-Os was featured on a Saukrates song featuring Nelly Furtado called “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman”, produced by Rich Kidd. The song would go on to outsell K-Os’ new album Yes! on iTunes, and continues to garner attention and respect for Rich Kidd, the mastermind of the infectious melody. 2010 ushered in more recognition, as Rich Kidd was nominated for the prestigious Stylus DJ Awards’ “Producer of the Year” award. “We On Some Rich Kidd Sh*t Volume 4: The Boiling Point” was released in July, shortly followed by Rich Kidd’s highly-anticipated debut video for the self-produced mixtape-standout “Take It Slow”.
Pushed and propelled by a huge underground buzz, September, 2010 had Rich Kidd headlining Toronto’s premier annual showcase ManifesTO, alongside the legendary Black Thought (The Roots) and Jay Electronica. Rich Kidd’s searing rhymes and sonic musicality have become something to behold, as he continues to be championed and hailed as a nation-wide favorite. Focusing on performance vigor and musical versatility, Rich Kidd is a master of his craft, with a coveted sound and style that makes him one of Toronto’s most promising artists.
As hope rises from street level like the morning of a brand new day, the air is heavy here, with that feeling. That feeling that penetrates everything. Alleys and corners reverberate with the echo of the boom-bap, the call of fresh sneakers hitting concrete, and the hiss of the spray can. In the west end, obscured by the cloud that tells of our young heroes’ location, an anthem bares down triumphant on the ears of the moment. “we’ve only just begun”. Smash Brovaz, have returned. Wiser. Still young but grown. Still striving. Still trying to make the best of the situation, and thus still smoking. still trying to make moves. And still leading the way with that good good music.
Smash Brovaz “The EP”, Junia-T and Crook present their long awaited return to the legion of Smash. Aided by Toronto heavyweights Zaki Ibrahim, Tanika Charles, Rich Kidd, and Big Pops, “The EP” reverberates with a nostalgic ear tipped towards the early to mid-nineties. You remember don’t you? Back when it felt like what an emcee said was true, and when you sang it came straight from the heart? Back when you spent hours trying to figure out how that producer had chopped that sample? This is a return to hip hop fundamentals, led by two cats that just might have been in middle school when their favourite records taught them the template of truly good music. The best lessons never turn false, but rather, more true. You come to understand them better. The ideas maturing with the man. And so it is, this time we find the Brovaz deeper in the cut. Wrapped in heavier bass and propelled by stronger drums, arrangements flush with horns and strings.
CALiPH (pronounced Cal-leef) is a Canadian rapper, singer and songwriter based out of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). His debut single ‘Dedicated’ was placed in rotation on Canada’s most listened to urban radio station FLOW 93.5 FM. His debut album “The Resignation” is scheduled for release July 2011. “The Resignation” features production from Rich Kidd, M-Phazes, Izzy The Kidd, D.Keys among other Canadian and International producers. Artist features include Jack Flawless, Lisa Banton and two-time Juno nominee Dl Incognito.
What began as a dream became a reality in early 2003 when Ashton Bishop made the switch from business man to BUSINESS Maaaaaan. After getting his start at Universal Music/Def Jam and later helping with the creative development of SonyBMG artists such as Bow Wow (Wanted), Ciara (Goodies), Wyclef Jean (Creole 101) and Canada’s own Keshia Chante, this suburban hustler has learnt the inner workings of the music industry while making some major contacts along the way. His time working behind the scenes only benefits his career and if you can imagine working at Champs Sports as “Ashton” (where nobody has any idea your an MC) then flying to NY as “Famous” to meet industry bosses like Jameel Spencer (Bad Boy), Caresse Henry Norman (Madonna) and Damon Dash (Dame Dash Music Group), then you can see why this regular kid can only appreciate where he’s been and where he’s heading.
While interviewing Memphis Bleek (ROC), writing reviews for artists such as Yung Joc and Cassie as well as hosting some of Toronto’s hottest jams, Ashton has also developed “Famous” into an on-air personality that can now be heard on Toronto’s Hip-Hop & R&B radio station FLOW 93.5 FM. His own segment ’60 Seconds of FAME’ can be heard exclusively on OTA Live, Canada’s most popular Hip-Hop radio show. With a growing fan base, a powerful e-mail list and an intriguing online presence, this honour role college graduate has taken the proper steps needed to achieve commercial success in the rap game. He has released his critically acclaimed solo debut, the ‘I Rap Now EP’, which features production from NY’s The Narcotics (Kanye West, Teairra Marie, Jay-Z) and Toronto’s own Boi-1da and Tone Mason. Videos for songs “Ain’t No Use” (nominated for 2009 Much Music Video Award for Rap Video of the Year), “Big Man Tings” and “I’m Here” featuring Kardinal Offishall & Tona have already been in rotation on TV and the EP earned the young shoe salesman turned rapper a 2009 Juno Nomination for Rap Recording of the Year. With opening gigs for legends like Nas and critically acclaimed group The Clipse, Famous recently headlined his own nationally televised performance on MTV Live and is truly making his dreams become reality.
Politic Live is a group that fuses their West Indian roots with past and modern day influences. Their name, which represents the balance of art and commerce, is reflected in their subject matter which ranges from songs about the cons of Alberta’s economic boom, rising violence in Edmonton, to the headaches of relationships.
Together since 2002, Politic Live’s most notable work is their 2006 collective sophomore album, Adaptation. Popular among campus radio the album spent 10 Weeks on Canada’s National Campus Radio Hip-Hop Charts where it peaked at #2. State’s side the album had a similar streak with chart activity in Waterville, San Jose and Chicago, where the album’s single “Droppin’ Gems” charted on Illinois Record Pool’s Weekly Top 200 Urban Singles for 13 straight weeks – peaking at #69. Praised for its honest lyrics, varied topics, and diverse sound, Adaptation also received critical acclaim in both Canada and the US along with multiple Award Nominations.
Politic Live’s body of work includes three Western Canadian Music Award nominations; having four music videos added to rotation at Much Music; touring western Canada on multiple occasions – once as a opener for Juno Award Nominee DL Incognito; being awarded over $100,000 in grant funding since 2006 from organizations like the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton Arts Council, & FACTOR; showcasing at nationally recognized music conferences like Canadian Music Week, New Music West and the Western Canadian Music Awards (aka Breakout West); opening for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Nas; and syncs in indie films like Doppelganger (Phyraz Production), By Waist Side (Santoro Pictures), and Halo (Diluvian Motion Pictures).
In Edmonton Politic Live is well known for their community work. In addition to mentoring upcoming artists and holding workshops with students that teach them how to use as a tool for social change, Politic Live has raised over 7,000 lbs of food for the Edmonton Food Bank in 9 years through their initiative Hip-Hop For Hunger.
Politic Live is presently preparing the release of their third album, Ellipsis.
Tuzzy (2 Z) was born Michael Tomassi on January 11th, 1987, in Toronto, Canada. In 2001, after his first performance singing “You Remind Me” by Usher, he immediately fell in love with the spotlight. Like a fine wine, Tuzzy continued to get better with time. His imagination and artistic background has enabled him to continually create unique and intimate songs. Tuzzy produces, writes, sings and raps all of his own material from scratch. Thriving to be known in the industry, Tuzzy has been dedicated to performing at venues such as The Sound Academy, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Suba Lounge, Stella Borealis, The Rock Pile, Le Jardin, The Opera House and many more. His music intrigued world renowned DJ, Michael Mayhem, who is now Tuzzy’s official touring DJ. Tuzzy has opened for and shared the same stage with D-12, Maestro, Karl Wolf, Glenn Lewis and more. To familiarize yourself with Tuzzy’s music and subscribe to the official Tuzzy (2 Z) channel visit http://www.youtube.com/tuzzytuzz.
In the winter of 1989, Toronto, Canada met the future of innovative music. Upon immigrating to the Great North’s capital, Trinidadian-born Rishaard Hyndman (Rishaard a.k.a. Shamon Harage) began utilizing his already musically influenced lifestyle by channeling his talents through his newfound friend: . The perfect blend of raw energy, crisp wit and soulful raspiness, Rishaard’s voice and flow is one of the most distinct in T-dot’s large community. He, however, has remained in the ‘background’ as one of the members of the underground collection known as Monolith.
Analyzing the rap game for the past few years, Rishaard is now more than ready to become a major player as a solo recording artist. As a member of Monolith, Rishaard helped find the independent label, One Rock Records. Together with his crew in 1998, he released “The Long Awaited..” a six-track EP that shattered the boundaries previously placed in the Canadian market. Without a major label or distributor, Monolith sold thousands of cassettes and subsequent 12″ singles featuring the cuts “Bye D’Plenty” and “At The T.O.P.”, made popular, in part, by Rishaard’s flows. As one of the featured MCs in the lead single “At The T.O.P.”, Rishaard made his music video debut in September 1998. With the video in rotation for several months on Canada’s premier music station MuchMusic, Rishaard also joined his crew in a number of live television performances and interviews on “RapCity”, “DaMix”, and “The Mike Bullard Show”
Further proving his ability and skills, the new millennium saw Rishaard display his talent on Monolith member Dan-e-o’s The Book of Daniel album in “Peanut Butter Danish”( 2003). Rishaard was also featured on Irs’ Juno-nominated â€œWelcome To Planet Irs LP on “M.W.O” in 2005. Appearing on one of Monolith’s biggest club bangers to date! Along with Jamaican reggae superstar Red Rat, Rishaard lead off in the single “Kama Sutra” a Calypso-tinged classic accompanied by a music video that has received millions views on YouTube!
Rishaard has had his fair share of stage experience. No stranger to a live audience, he has toured across Canada with Choclair, Kardinal and Saukrates and the U.S. sharing the stage with some of ‘s heaviest hitters including Masta Killa, Jeru The Damaja, Young Buck and Mobb Deep. Striving to make a bigger impact and to establish himself as a true heavyweight, Rishaard released the mixtape “Confessions Of A ..” in the ending of 2006. The CD featured underground hits, “4 All My”and “Let It Out” featuring Universal Music recording artist, Toya Alexus of “Pop Stars” fame. This single, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.
In 2007, Rishaard made various appearances on local D.J.mixtapes and various showcases through out the city. In a continuous hunger to further his career, Rishaard entered and placed 2nd in the Howard University “Next 2 Blow” Howard Homecoming competition, in Washington D.C.
Continuing to make appearances, he assisted fellow Mono members, Grimace Love on his Debut LP “Perception” and Wio-K’s debut LP “In Real Life” Rishaard has connected and worked with various producers and MCs in the city, recently he paired up with producer Gee Wunder and Lyve (remix) to bring the Up-tempo, street track “We Goin In” which is receiving great airplay.
Rishaard is currently preparing for his debut album, and has dropped the first official Single “Keepin’ It Moving” a smooth, head nodding, banger, produced by Kool Aid of Soundsmith Productions. In 2011, The release of his debut full-length album, Now Or Never Maybe?. Promises to set a new standard for Canadian artists, this LP represents Rishaard’s next step towards ultimate success.
Toronto’s newest soloist is set to break grounds. Prepare yourself for the riot…Rishaard is about to blow!
SonReal’s most recent success was the release of his first budget video for his hit single, Already There. The MuchFACT funded video was released and was an instant success, being added to the Top 30 Countdown in its second week, a rare feet for any Vancouver artist. Upon it’s release online the video scored major blogs on both sides of the boarder and clocked 30,000 views in it’s first week. The single was nominated for, “Hip-Hop Single of the Year” at the 2011 Stylus awards. These successes were the result of a long journey for SonReal.
SonReal is a new school leader. This young artist has independently put all eyes on him through consistently putting out interesting, innovative material. With the release of his debut album Good Morning, SonReal created a radiating buzz, spreading across Canada and gaining international recognition. Having songs scored in international films helped SonReal clock numerous album sales around the world including several U.S. States, Norway, France, Japan, Poland, Australia, Thailand, Russia.
November 13th, 2009, SonReal’s highly anticipated follow up record The Stroll dropped internationally. The Stroll is described as funky, innovative, and most notably a feel good record. SonReal’s edgy, melodic swagger combined with a positive message makes this record a great listen from front to back. The Stroll has guest appearances from Canada’s top female artist Eternia and XXL featured Joe Scudda, as well as production from super producer Rich Kidd (Busta Rhymes, Drake, K-Os), and DJ Crown from France (Satellite Music/Major). The Stroll is available through Cd Baby, iTunes, Rhapsody, and Amazon as well as selected retail stores across Canada.
July 2nd, 2010, SonReal released another studio project entitled, The Lightyear Mixtape. Having recorded the 18 track project in a 4 month period, this new artists motivation and constant drive lead him to achieving independent success on an international scale. The Lightyear Mixtape radiated across Canada and paved the way for such opportunities as; being the only Western Canadian artist to be invited to perform at Toronto’s Manifesto Fest; receiving radio play on satellite radio’s, Shade45 and Hip-Hop Nation; being invited to Classifieds home in Nova Scotia to write and record; and the opportunity to shoot a budget video through MuchFACT for his single, “Already There”. The Lightyear Mixtape was also nominated for “Mixtape of the Year” at the 2011 Stylus awards.
February 28th, SonReal released his latest full-length project entitled Where’s Waldo? Being labeled SonReal’s most diverse work to date, this project showcases raw creativity and demonstrates a clever approach to Hip- Hop music. With six videos released independently since The Lightyear Mixtape as well as production from both sides of the boarder, Where’s Waldo? has turned heads in the industry. Receiving over eight times as many downloads as The Lightyear Mixtape in it’s first week, Where’s Waldo? has captivated a much larger fanbase and solidified SonReal as Canada’s hardest working prodigy.
In the late 80’s when hip hop as an art form truly began to blossom, a young L.E.S. found himself at the epicentre of the culture. The Bronx, New York, where he would spend his summers visiting with family became his adoptive home every June. The graffiti-stained subways, cardboard covered pavement, and oversized boom boxes that resonated throughout the BX borough, set the gears in motion for the Montreal born rapper’s love affair with hip hop.
L.E.S. aka Shane Scully made his first appearance on the local scene taking part in Montreal’s acclaimed spoken word poetry slams. As talented as he is introverted, the seldom seen artist continued to hone his skills as a writer but preferred performing for his inner circle over random crowds.
Amongst a circle of talented emcees, singers, poets and musicians, L.E.S.’ standout delivery during an impressive freestyle session, drew the attention of up and coming producer Shaun J. Miller. They soon began working on a collaborative effort a la Pete Rock and & CL Smooth. The result was “Before the Genesis”, an eight song EP displaying a propensity for deeply personal lyrics that blend hip hop bravado with artistic sensibility. The album received critical praise and was a personal milestone for the usually reclusive artist.
Following that accomplishment, L.E.S. chose to return to his comfort zone, behind the scenes where he co-created www.morburn-music.com – a website dedicated to promoting hip hop culture in his hometown. As a by-product of the site’s success, L.E.S., the artist, was once again a topic of discussion. A string of collaborations and standout performances followed in 2010, none more celebrated than his powerfully poignant verse on the remix to Montreal’s unofficial anthem, Expos Fitted.
It’s no wonder why some of the city’s biggest names in hip hop and r&b (Shaharah, Uness, Malicious, Dirt Work Productions) are looking to collaborate with the emcee. Finally realizing what many already knew, L.E.S. plans to shed his reclusive nature and share his unique ability to spill vivid lyrics over gritty, soulful beats with the rest of the world. He is currently working on “The Genesis” with some of the aforementioned collaborators and expects to release the project in fall of 2011.
I was born on Dec 19th, 1984.: I was raised in the streets of Malton: west of Toronto – for seventeen years to be exact. I grew up in a semi-detached house, in a family with a total of eight members. With that being said, after a few years of getting a new job my pops was forced to take an early retirement due to an accident. Consequently, my mother had to take care of everything. As for me, I was always there to give it all that I had. When it came to school, I found the practical aspect far more intruiging than the theory. Overall, I have attended four highschools – you can say I have been through a lot. Eventually things panned out and I spent a year and a half outside of Toronto. During this time, I picked up a new trait of “rapping” and naturally fell in love with the art of creating music . I told myself ‘this is my passion and with that, I must remember three things: give my all; stay humble and keep a level head’. All these lessons I have learned from my mother. Ever since then, I have been doing just that, with the help of my closest friends. We rented out a studio and reformed a four-man team known as “Quad Squad” into something much bigger and renamed it Cash Camp Ent. An entertainment group tuned into numerous aspects in the music and in the entertainment industry. Cash Camp Ent decided the group’s 2011 first music project will be my very first solo mixtape entitled “Automatic Muzik”. The name Jimmy Auto and the movement has begun and I hope you enjoy the music I have and will continue to create. Auto
Regular Robb is a artist and entertainer. He has been working closely with some of the city’s finest artists including Promise, Rich Kidd, JazzFeezy, B20 and Scena. His outstanding ability to communicate with an audience is apparent through his writing, performance skills and is clear on his latest EP The Calm Before The Storm. The featured single “Adios” will be included on his soon to be released album The Brainstorm. The grind doesn’t stop there for Regular Robb, he’s currently working on another EP solely produced by Real Blaze Music entitled The Regulars which will be available for download in the coming months. You’ll be able to hear it all by checking out his website http://www.regularrobb.com.
Renee ‘Shi’ Wisdom is an eccentric twenty-two year old Toronto native, who has recently decided to step foot into the music scene. She was blessed to have been raised by an ambitious, driven, music-loving single mother, who recognized her love for music and immersed her in any programs that would allow her to channel her gifts. Although Shi is a classically trained pianist with the Royal Conservatory of Music, her style exemplifies anything but a rigid, classical style. Heavily influenced by jazz, soul, R&B and alternative music, Shi refuses to put a label on the kind of music she creates. “When we put labels on things and/or people, we bind them to those ideals and leave them no room to grow. No option to evolve.”
Shi has slowly been making her way into the music industry by simply being herself and allowing her music to represent exactly who she is. No sugar coating and no fabrication. From edgy, alternative sounds, to lovers rock, to melodic R&B, Shi draws inspiration from musical legends like Prince, Smokie Norful, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and Billie Holiday. Relatively newer artists like Chrisette Michelle, Peggy Sue, Bilal, Muhsinah, Erykah Badu and India.Arie also play a major part in her sound.
With many local performances under her belt, including Soulful Sundays, Intimate & Interactive (hosted by MTV’s Tika Simone), many METRAC events, to mention a few, Shi has already begun building a loyal fan base in her home city. She believes that as a result of “divine order”, she is prepared to finish and release her first EP (which is still untitled). “Everything happening around me is pushing me in the direction of doing what it is that I love. Music. How can I fight that?” Her first single, entitled LoveSpeak, is set to be released in Spring of 2011.
Don’t forget to check out http://www.stylusgroup.ca for full details about the 2011 Stylus SpinFest.