Brampton, ON – Earlier this month LSC artists Negu$ and Toxic teamed up for a brand new collaboration titled “IIIusions” (spelled with three I’s at the beginning, instead of with an “I” and two L’s… because optical illusions).
The track was produced by Nobru and is pretty much exactly what you’d expect a collaboration to sound like between Negu$ and Toxic. “IIIusions” combines Toxic’s dark brand of horror rap with Negu$’ esoteric, Indigo Child style sound.
“IIIusions” actually came about after Toxic watched Harry Potter on repeat. Then he linked with Negu$ and two decided to cook up a track. The end result is a song about everyday life illusions, as well as the relationship between substances and reality, and how drugs can either save you from illusion or blind you by illusion.
Listen to “IIIusions” below, and check out our in-depth interview with Negu$ and Toxic after the jump.
Calgary, AB – This last week the annual Sled Island music festival took over Calgary for a week of music and live performances from local, national, and international up-and-coming and underground artists.
Because Sled Island has a mandate to give shine to the underground artists, we always see a few Canadian rappers slotted on the bill. This year the festival got Lou Phelps to (finally) come out west to perform, and it was one of the best sets of the whole festival.
Lou Phelps is an experimental Montreal rapper who just dropped one of the best EPs of 2017, his debut solo project 001: Experiments. The project marks a different direction for Lou, who’s spent an unfortunate amount of time in the shadows of his brother Kaytranada.
Lou came up as the rapping half of The Celestics duo with Kaytranada. But then Kaytranada blew up and everyone started just referring to Lou as “Kaytranada’s little brother”, instead of recognizing that Lou actually has his own brand of artistry.
001: Experiments makes that distinction though. Even though the project was executive produced by Kaytranada, it effortlessly glides between different flows, different beats, different feels, and a heavy dose of self-deprecation.
Calgary, AB – From June 21 – 25 the annual Sled Island music festival took over the city of Calgary for a week filled with music performances, headlining shows, art exhibits, movies, and more.
One of the most highly anticipated shows of the week for the hip-hop heads, DJ Quik headlined at the Palace Theatre on Jun. 23. The bill for the night was stacked with additional performances from Montreal artist Wasiu and underground LA rapper-producer Busdriver.
Busdriver is one of the most highly respected names amongst the heads, due to his monstrous lyrical abilities and heavily psychological approach to music.
Toronto, ON – Rochester (aka Juice) continues his wave of new releases with the launch of what is being called Toronto’s summer anthem of 2017. His new single, “Good Vibes,” featuring EMG is available now on all major music platforms.
The song blends dancehall reggae-like beats to give ROCHESTER and EMG a hot wave to flow on lyrically, capturing the right mix to deliver the ‘sound of summer.’ Rochester and the Blocktrade team celebrated the single’s official release on June 15 inside Company Resto Bar.
Brampton, ON – Rajan Gahunia, who goes by Rajan, is no newcomer to the Canadian music industry. Having opened up for Drake at Ryerson University a year ago, he’s made his mark on Central Canada by curating engaging live shows and uptempo music that bridges the gap between modern R&B and club-worthy hip hop hits. You might have caught his multiple guest appearances recently alongside Youtube influencers, The Brampton Boys – where he previewed clips of his new music. He’s been making gain within Brampton’s scene for a minute, and the release of his debut album Atlantus warrants a greater look at his movement.
At first glance, the album stands out with its’ commendable production from established Canadian producer Eestbound (whose accolades include Travis Scott’s “Antidote”) on three of the eight tracks. Fellow Brampton artist Savv joins him for an exceptionally strong feature on “Might Be” – and potentially the most impactful number of the eight. But when you really dig into the project, its’ strength reaches past well-executed production and is rooted in Rajan’s approach to songwriting.
Full of strong bridges, and melodies – Rajan’s figured a formula to keeps listeners’ energy high, and their attention focused. What also makes him interesting as an artist is his multi-faceted creative approach – from a carefully designed visual aesthetic to his own choreographed dancing. We caught up with Rajan this past week in the days leading up the album release to talk about who he is (as an artist) and what he hopes to communicate with the project.
Stream Atlantus below, and check out our conversation after the drop.
Stonebridge, UK – North West London rapper Casscade returns with his TooRareToDie-backed mixtape, Living In The Moment. This project is a strong body of work from the rapper/songwriter that collectively maintains Casscade’s dominating force in the UK rap scene. Casscade aims to push boundaries and his music has continued to elevate itself since his single”Every Year” caught the attention of BBC 1xtra’s Charlie Sloth for an exclusive premiere. This was then followed by the release of “BMT” on Westside Radio by Rebecca Judd who listed Casscade as a one to watch this year and the release of “Mood Rings” which was premiered on Annie Nightingale’s show on 1xtra. The release of Living In The Moment comes at a crucial time in Casscade’s career while he continues to level-up.
Regarding the mixtape, Casscade explains, “This project was inspired by life itself. It was a build up of moments from the last year to now – trying to enjoy life with friends, life experiences and working hard. I took a break just before summer last year to get my mind right, work on the craft some more, and get that uptempo fire that I felt like I lost – back. I want anybody who listens to this body of work to sing along, feel they need to hit the volume, and have this pumping through the system before they head out on a summer day. Or anytime they are looking forward to enjoying a moment.”
Stream the 13-track project below, and look out for more releases from the Casscade and the TooRareToDie camp – who never fail to come through with quality sounds.
Chicago, IL – Following his performance at Culture Fest, Chicago-based emcee Goody returns with his latest single “Roc-A-Fella Flow.” He showcases his lyrical abilities on the offering, and over production handled by Presswood. The producer captures nostalgic elements from the legendary Dynasty era. However, Goody raps at a high level not to be out shined or unheard proving that he belongs in the company of the best.
Introducing many of us to his library of works, “Roc-A-Fella Flow” is a strong reintroduction. Goody raps, “I seen people blessed with talent, go and misuse it/ Try to hit the eight ball and then they miscue it/ That’s why my vision locked in, I see the corner pocket/ I’m tryna’ beat the odds, some people got no options.” Speaking on the hustle, and personal resilience, Goody channels old-school vibes with a modern approach that you’re sure to vibe with. There’s confirmed to be more music on the way from the rising emcee, so be sure to keep an eye out for his upcoming releases.
Brampton, ON – Josh Dillon has managed to fly under everyone’s radar up until now, but we’re predicting that it won’t continue this way for much longer. Coming from the Waycool camp, the Brampton-based vocalist kicks off summer with his new dynamic record “SOS.” Josh links up once again with fellow Waycool producer Martin Sole, after coming off the release of their latest pacifying single “Ones.”
To date, “SOS” is Josh’s most aggressive and bouncy ballad due to the crazy production from Sole. But it’s his vocals which resonate with his listeners, as he sings, “Pablo from the back yard, whole gang blowing like I’m Escobar/ I’m still painting my blue Picasso, I’m writing my wrongs with God/ Save me from myself, (need you to) save me from myself, (can you please) save me from myself so I can heal.” The maturity he brings to his writing is something that stands out in this specific track and shows why we think he’s a promising Canadian artist to watch.
Stream the new single “SOS” below, and look out for more from Josh in the coming months.
Calgary, AB – HipHopCanada joined Spotify back in 2016 and we’ve been releasing a new playlist with two hours of music every single week.
Each Friday we’ll hit you with a Canadian urban music playlist curated by Sarah Jay. Every week Sarah will be putting together a 38-track weekly selection of new releases, classic favourites, throwbacks, and songs she’s playing heavy on rotation.
This week’s playlist is a special Sled Island Edition to kick off our weekend of festival coverage here in Calgary. Volume 38 features 38 tracks from local, national, and international acts who will be performing at Sled Island 2017 including HHC regulars like WASIU, Lou Phelps, and I M U R. This playlist also features A.Y.E., Tierra Whack, DJ Quik, Busdriver, OZZIE, starRo, Flying Lotus (who is the 2017 festival’s guest curator), and more.
Check out the playlist and tracklist for Sarah Jay’s Weekly Picks Vol. 38 below, and make sure you go follow us on Spotify.
Ottawa, ON – Our friends over at Envy Magazine were on hand for the Ottawa debut of dancehall artist, Kranium. The Montego Bay, Jamaica-native made his debut on the scene back in 2013 with the hit single, “Nobody Has To Know.” The #WeCan tour, named after his Tory Lanez-assisted single by the same name, brought Kranium to 9 Canadian cities.
“His first time in Ottawa was as a supporting act on Tory Lanez ‘I Told You’ tour and now he’s embarking on his own. Two stops before the last city on a 19-date North American run, Kranium made his way to Ottawa, Canada for a show at PPL Nightclub. We snagged the dancehall artist for a sit-down where we talked Jamaican food, the key to happiness, XXL’s Freshman list, and more.”