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Tribute: Toronto rising star Shane Redway of BLVD killed in car accident

Update: A GoFundMe funeral fund for Redway has been established. Click here to support his family with a donation.

Toronto, ON – The Canadian hip-hop scene took a huge loss early Saturday morning with the reported passing of Mississauga-Toronto recording artist Shane Redway of BLVD (The Belief Leading Visions & Dreams).

Redway was allegedly 1 of 3 individuals who perished in a single-vehicle crash around 4 a.m. on a Hwy. 427 ramp to Hwy. 401. The other 2 victims were unidentified at the time this article was published. Because of the nature of the crash, dental records will need to be confirmed before any identities can be officially revealed.

Just after 4 o’clock in the morning we have a single-vehicle collision … (for) unknown reasons it struck the right-side guardrail,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told 680 NEWS.

We don’t know if alcohol, fatigue, distraction or any other factors played a part in this. It is still very dynamic,” she told Toronto station CP24.

Tribute: Toronto rising star Shane Redway of BLVD killed in car accident -
Redway (via Facebook)

Redway and another victim died at the scene from their injuries while a female occupant passed away at a trauma centre in Toronto later in the day.

Considering Redway associated largely with other members of the Canadian music and hip-hop community, it’s very possible the other victims are other artists, producers, DJs, managers or connected in some other capacity. Either way, it’s a very tragic loss for music and at least one very promising career has been cut short.

Shane’s name started to really pop in the past couple of years but in actuality he was a seasoned veteran of the Toronto scene. We’ve been watching him grow as an artist since back in the day when he was a member of the HipHopCanada message board. He was never shy to voice his opinion and was actively promoting himself while still attending high school. He was part of a next generation of artists that were embracing their cities and Canadian nationality like we hadn’t seen before, and well prior to Drake’s explosion onto the international market. It was refreshing to see so much pride for Canadian hip-hop after a generation of many artists seemingly going out of their way to hide their Canadian roots. He was a huge supporter of not just the Toronto scene, but was actively building a network around the country, and beyond.

Halifax rapper Quake Matthews was one of the first MCs from outside of Toronto to publicly mourn Redway’s loss. His Instagram message holds weight to the idea that Redway was a Renaissance man building bridges towards a world of possibilities.

Damn, just received some terrible news. This dude always showed me mad love over the years whenever we crossed paths. Very humble and talented individual. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP @redwayblvd

9-0 Nickel’s Peter Jackson payed homage to the BLVD rapper with his own Instagram post:

Very sad news to hear about Redway passing. We are all out here chasing the same dreams, I hate to see anyone cut short before their time. This sh*t is never easy. RIP @redwayblvd my prayers and condolences to the family & friends.

A ton of other people and mediums have shown support through social media: Drake, Classified, Rich Kidd, Organik of KOTD, Harvey Stripes, Billboard, Complex, Noisey, Exclaim! and already hundreds more. Click here for a more complete list of social media tributes to Redway.

Our initial tweet took over our mentions in less than a minute. It’s just a testament to the type of person Redway was, and the impact his loss will have on the scene. A lot of people liked him and felt great about him being a representative for Toronto hip-hop. OVO’s Hush said it best, “Redway repped the city right…

Another budding star, Jazz Cartier, took the time to acknowledge Redway’s positive spirit.

Drake has paid tribute to Redway with 2 posts on Instagram. Here’s one of them.

Gone way too soon. Just saw this guy yesterday at Bounce. RIP Redway.

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

TDotWire Freak

Redway’s first big tune was actually inspired by one of the earliest nightlife networking sites, “TDotWire Freak” came out in 2006 and was quickly picked up by local radio and clubs. It wasn’t long before his Rapper Guy mixtape was released but the project would also lead to his eventual brief retreat from music altogether. As Noisey’s Slava Pastuk reported, the tape had been hosted by Big Page, another Toronto artist, and eventually the decision to enlist the “Still Fly” rapper would put a sour note on the project’s release.

Redway got a taste of the Toronto politics that would go on to sour his mood for years to come when Big Page had begun to tell people that Redway paid him to host the tape. The rumour hurt Redway’s credibility, but he understood why people weren’t on his side. ‘People started to say, like, ‘Redway’s trash, he’s not that good.’ But I won’t lie to you, I never had substance then.’

Border Living & Live Free

Redway was back and forth between Toronto and New York. As of 2010 he would regularly travel to New York for a few months at a time and stayed with his aunt. It kept him away from the local Toronto politics and allowed him to absorb outside influences and connections.

He would soon release another mixtape, Border Living, but was overall unsatisfied with the reception it had received. As Noisey’s Pastuk indicated, “though it was better received than Rapper Guy, it still didn’t seem to connect with a local audience that was now paying attention to a former Degrassi actor.

Redway was back in the GTA and by the Spring of 2013 he was promoting yet another project, Live Free, which furthered his growth on the scene but failed to bring him a level of achievement he was determined to reach. While the project itself didn’t pan out to a change of lifestyle, Redway’s work with certain artists and producers began to capture the ears of various highly influential publications.

Ebony Oshunrinde, better known as Toronto producer WondaGurl (Jay Z, Drake), produced the song “Progression” off Live Free, and her involvement with the project alone brought a ton of new eyes on Redway’s movement. Noisey, Complex, MTV and other influential outlets were all looking to cover the budding star and when it was announced in 2014 that WondaGurl would entirely produce his next mixtape, it was a wrap.

Years Ahead

On August 6, 2014, Redway posted footage of the Toronto Years Ahead listening session at Get Fresh Company, and if you watch it (below) you can really get a sense for the type of local support he was getting. As someone tweeted to us just a few moments ago, “he was on the cusp.” The level of greatness he could achieve is subject to debate, but he had what it took to make a career out of this music thing, he just needed more time to make it happen.

His latest music video was “YKTO (You Know The Ones)” which came in support of his Years Ahead EP which hit iTunes independetly just under a year ago. It received coverage from top music blogs in North America (and around the world) and set the stage for even greater things to come.

Several days after posting “YKTO,” in what would be the last video posted to his official YouTube account, Redway presented some great footage of his preparations to open for ScHoolboy Q in a music video-documentary style video titled “On The BLVD (Episode 1).” Redway was becoming more of a regular on the opening slots for big tours and high profile local gigs. Most recently he took part in Raz Fresco’s Pablo Frescobar release party. It will remain to be seen if other episodes “On the BLVD” had been prepared before his passing.

Redway had several other visual releases in support of Years Ahead, each of which was well received when they came out. “Right Now,” directed by Dukey Dukez, and “On Fire,” directed by Dukez and Tristan Prime (from Jimmy Johnson’s crew). Prime had actually directed Redway’s visuals for “Progression,” the aforementioned record that WondaGurl produced on Live Free. Click here to check it out on YouTube.

Late January, Redway released another new WondaGurl-produced banger by the name of “Eat.” It included the message “Redway releases one of many new cuts to look forward to for 2015. The song is produced by WondaGurl.” He hadn’t released anything via those regular channels since, but in Toronto’s CEO FASE’s Instagram tribute to Redway, he mentioned having heard a new single from the Sauga rapper just last night. Hopefully his unreleased material will see the light of day. Knowing how closely he worked with WondaGurl, we would expect she has the access.

He was featured on Complex’s Ones to Watch: Toronto Edition, late June along with names like Jazz Cartier, Tasha the Amazon, Raz and Sean Leon, to name a few. They didn’t bring anything new to the table though, opting to run with “YKTO.” But it’s a great tune so you can’t blame them. Click here to check it out.

Redway’s manager spoke to CP24 about the young rapper’s passing:

Damien McIntosh, Redway’s manager, described the rapper as a ‘hard-worker’ who was beloved by those who knew him. ‘(He was) a special guy, very special,’ McIntosh said.

This was also included in a press release to media:

With a heavy heart and deepest regards, its with great sadness to announce the sudden death of Toronto rapper Shane Redway. Redway was known for being a passionate artist who was always striving for greatness, pushing the boundaries of always believing in your visions and dreams.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Redway’s family and friends. Words can’t express how saddened we are for your loss.

Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada

Twitter: @RedwayBLVD

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