Sarah Jay’s Picks: Top 10 Canadian Rap Videos of 2014 [Article]
Calgary, AB – Originally published January 2, 2015 – Damn. Is it just me, or was 2014 a massive year for Canadian hip-hop? It was overwhelming – I’ve never been so proud to be a part of Canadian hip-hop. Here’s the Cliff Notes version of how this year went down for me: I entered 2014 as the Associate Editor-In-Chief at HipHopCanada. This was a pretty big leap for me, as I spent all of 2013 as the Prairies Editor. So instead of just focusing on music from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, I got to take in tuneage from all across the country.
This year was an introduction to so many talented cats out in the central and eastern parts of the country. I was fortunate enough to be able to build with some amazing people, and take in some top-notch music. I also got to cross some dope interviews off my bucket list (like… Ghostface Killah, Future, and Action Bronson…NBD or anything!!!!!) I also caught some monster shows and got to fulfill my lifelong ambition of photographing an OutKast show. ZIIIINNNGGG! I also had an adorable bus ride with Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future in Whistler over the summer.
On a more personal level, this year totally reaffirmed the importance of having a hip-hop scene. Let me explain: I ended up in Edmonton at the end of January under some less-than-ideal circumstances. I didn’t know anyone in the city. But the Edmonton hip-hop scene took me in and within a few months I had a YEG hip-hop fam. [More]
DillanPonders, Camm Hunter & k-os
Blah blah blah – I know. I’m sorry. Y’all came here to see my top picks, not to get all sappy with Sarah Jay. So here’s the deal. We decided to do our Top 5 video picks for the year, here at HHC. I thought it’d be an easy enough task. But everything I know is a lie because there were way too many videos to choose from.
Sarah Jay’s Top 10 Picks
So I copped out of the limitations and restrictions of only choosing five videos, and opted to write up a Top 10 post instead. Well, technically I guess it’s a Top 15 because I included a few honourable mentions. But what I’m getting at here is that y’all blew me out of the water this year. I love you all. XOXO
This one time, SeT and AJ Cooper set out to make the illest ’90s-inspired hip-hop music video of all time. And the end result was a really detailed storyline that involved a mansion takeover and assault on a real estate agent. Other highlights include big fur jackets, fancy-ass smoke puffing, and a nod to the greats who paved the way several decades ago.
I feel like Camm Hunter’s solo ventures have made it more socially acceptable for me to admit that I used to listen to a lot of Down With Webster. Some heads have been a bit salty towards Camm as a rapper. But I really dig Camm’s solo stuff. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll rapper and he owns that. He’s not trying to be something he’s not. And that was why I loved this video – the whole “mascot” commentary and storyline is metaphorical realness.
Obligatory Drake inclusion on the list. Because Drizzy is king. While most of us will never get the chance to party it up with Aubrey and his OVO fam, we can vicariously pretend to by watching the video for “Tuesday.”
Love how Drake hopped on to this track to get people to listen to it. Because iLoveMakonnen is one lyrically smooth R&B beast. I still listen to this song every single Tuesday. I got a playlist and everything. Also, love how iLoveMakonnen stays consistent with those weird mannequin heads. Serious brand recognition.
This video was literally One Long Day in the life of SonReal (that’s a reference to the project this video came off of which was titled One Long Day). SonReal is at the point where he’s getting his due shine on that international level and is consequently having to deal with that next level of fame.
This video was all sorts of fun that we’ve come to expect from SonReal. It’s one-part commentary on his newly acquired next-level fame, and one-part reminder that SonReal is still that same ol’ dude who A) gets speeding tickets, and B) orders the number four with a side of chicken.
Shout-out to k-os for continuing to do his thing. And in this case – shooting a music video at Carnival in his native Trinidad. This year was an overdose of rapper flex. It got a little annoying. So while 154,432,543 dudes were out there making videos of themselves popping bottles and turning up at the club, k-os was just being really f**king cool at Carnival.
What happens when D.O. and Slakah the Beatchild team up and form a duo? Magic happens; and by magic, I mean the Art Of Fresh. This video was on a whole other planet. Pun fully intended. Because they take us into outer space for this video. The Slakah production is fresh. The hook is on-point. The video is trippy floaty fun for days.
Also, I hope y’all have been keeping tabs on D.O. this year. I feel like he deserves some proper kudos for all he’s done for the scene. In addition to releasing a slew of dope new music and videos, he’s also spent a lot of time going into schools and working with the youth. What a dude. Oh, he also teamed up with Fred Penner that one time and it was amazing.
Allan Rayman is another one of my favourite artists right now. I really feel like he’s changing the way people think about music genres. Allan Rayman fuses these hot and heavy R&B vocals with melodic rap verses. Then he dowses it all in a puddle of lonely feelings, and pulls it all together with punk rock influence. This particular video single was much less hip-hoppy than Rayman’s previous releases. But it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Hotel Allan is dropping in 2015 and I’m too anxious to handle this wait.
DillanPonders was one of my favourite Canadian artists of 2014. If you’ve never heard of him, I think his video for “Drown” is all you need to see. DP does a lot of drugs, gets a lot of blowjobs, and is really unapologetic about it all. In this particular video, Dillan is inviting us to come and drown with him. It gets deep.
DP is the best trap rapper in Canada, and has one of the best flows in the country. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m usually not a huge fan of trap. But this dude’s deep. There’s a lot to take in between his lines (lyrical lines – or cocaine lines – or whatever floats your boat). Dillan forces you to get in touch with your most primal and carnal self. His rap verse anecdotes about drugs and dicks are actually projections of character flaws that we all have. We are all DillanPonders. He’s just more honest about it.
I’m calling it as I see it: Muneshine penned the 2014 Canadian hip-hop anthem of the year. Funnily enough, I just learned that Muneshine is actually from Saskatchewan. I totally thought he was a Toronto cat. I mean, did you hear that hook? “I can be your best friend/ Home is Toronto/ You can find me in the West End.”
This video is all about the universal language we’ve come to love and know as hip-hop. The video features a series of day-in-the-life stories of various Torontonians. It’s a reminder that hip-hop is always there – even when you’re “In Transit.” Hip-hop is bond.
So 2014 was definitely the year of the Rich Kidd. I feel like the Kidd doesn’t get enough daps for the fact that he both raps and produces; and that he kills it on both fronts. He came in to 2014 fresh off the hype from Naturally Born Strangers. And he consistently hit us with new solo work and monstrous features.
This video stood out to me as the #1 pick because it was a work of art in of itself. This wasn’t even a rap video – this was so much more than that. It was a solid story-lined cinematic experience. The track (which was self-produced by Rich Kidd – obvs!) has a jungle jam influence that leads you deep into “The Valley” where weird sexually-overt cannibalism is the norm. Shout out to RT! for The N.E for directing it. This video is elusively sexy and freakishly dark. Rich Kidd is the truth. This video is the best video that happened in Canadian hip-hop this year.
The rap video that made drugs look the most fun. I don’t do drugs anymore. But if I wanted to start back up, I’d get in touch with Cam Smith. And we’d probably have a really f**king awesome pizza party. [View]
The most majestic Canadian rap video of the year. [View]
Best mic technique and dance moves. Seriously, though. Moka doesn’t use a big budget on his videos. And he doesn’t need to. He always comes correct. [View]
Technically not a Canadian release but Vader rolls with the SmashMouth Music Group family, and they’re Canadian. So I’m including this as an honourable mention. Vader is a beast. He’s raw realness. You will never be a hard rapper if Vader The Villin is still playing the rap game. Because he is harder than nails. [View]
Up-and-comers from Ottawa that I’m keeping tabs on. Amazing debut Us Versus Them album. And consistent slick polished visuals. They are the full meal deal. [View]
Twitter: @richkiddbeats | @Muneshine | @DillanPonders | @allanrayman | @iamDO | @beatchild | @kosinception | @TheRealSonReal | @Drake | @iLoveMakonnen5D | @Cammhunter | @IamSeTdoe | @camsmithmusic | @BiggSoxx | @MOKA_ONLY | @VaderTheVillin | @SawBuck613 | @DJSoNice
Tags: AJ Cooper, Allan Rayman, Art of Fresh, Buck N Nice, Cam Smith, Camm Hunter, D.O., DillanPonders, DJ So Nice, Down with Webster, Drake, iLoveMakonnen, k-os, Moka Only, Muneshine, Naturally Born Strangers, October's Very Own, OVO, OVO Sound, Rich Kidd, Sarah Sussman, Saukrates, SawBuck, SeT, Slakah The Beatchild, SmashMouth Entertainment, SmashMouth Music Group, SMMG, SonReal, Vader The Villin, xxx clvr