Apple Music DJ Slammed for Saying Toronto Has No Musical Identity in Drake/Kendrick Beef

"'I'm going to ridicule you about co-opting Atlanta into your shit ... so now you can't even go ask them for a sound. And by the way, bro, what is your sound?'"

Photos: The ComeUp Show (Left), Kamara Morozuk (Right)

BY Ben OkazawaPublished May 10, 2024

As finished as we hope the exceedingly messy Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar beef is, the narratives it has produced wage on and, as if Toronto hadn't been dragged into the battle enough, the city has now fallen victim to claims that its artists have no musical identity. 

In trying to pinpoint a winner of the weeks-long back-and-forth, DJ Ebro said on his Apple Music show Rap Life Review that Drake lost in part because he doesn't have a regional sound to fall back on in the same way Kendrick does Compton.

"Geography is important. The map and the areas you own, when it comes time for somebody to 'take your head off,' [are] very important in this game," he said. "When Kendrick dropped 'Not Like Us,' bro was basically saying ... 'I'm going to own my zone. Literally, I'm going to provide my backyard ... with a soundtrack for this beef right here. I'm going to put a flag down and defend my home turf, and on the same song, I'm going to ridicule you about co-opting Atlanta into your shit ... so now you can't even go ask them for a sound. And by the way, bro, what is your sound?'"

Naturally, Toronto musicians, producers and music fans alike have pushed back at the suggestion the city doesn't have a distinctive sound, with several pointing to the moody influence that artists like the Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR and dvsn have lent to R&B and the distinctly Toronto wave of hip-hop birthed by OGs Maestro Fresh Wes and Kardinal Offishall and fleshed out by producers like Wondagurl, Boi-1da and Noah "40" Shebib.

Grammy-nominated producer Arthur McArthur was one of the first to respond, writing: "The 'Toronto doesn't have a sound' delusion is very funny to me after being in LA for 10 years with [almost every] artist I worked with asking me to make them a Toronto-sounding record."

Toronto-based R&B and hip-hop artist RUSSELL! also chimed in: "I've worked in music for more than a decade and have heard Americans endlessly compliment the Toronto sound and even ask ME how we pull it off," he wrote on X. "There are writing camps set up by labels to give American artists Toronto sounding records..."

After all the friction he got from the take, Ebro slightly walked back his claim, without fully conceding the point. "The truth is the Toronto sound is based in emo, alt-rnb, moody vibes ... plus some dancehall and UK vibes," he posted on X. "[Maybe] the issue is it has not matured and dominated in a way that it is solely owned by Toronto."

Speaking of, police were summoned to Drake's Bridle Path home for the third time this week yesterday (May 9), responding to reports of another attempted intruder

Check out a full clip of Ebro's original statement below along with further commentary on the beef by his co-hosts Nadeska, Lowkey and Eddie.

Latest Coverage