Toronto's Hip-hop & Urban Class of 2016

2015 in Lists

BY Erin LowersPublished Jan 12, 2016

Historically, Toronto's hip-hop and R&B music has been created with a melting pot of international influences, and often struggled to mark itself with a familiar regional sound. However, on the heels of Noah '40' Shebib's masterful production blueprint are coming a new generation of artists who are laying new groundwork for the "Toronto Sound" — an emotionally complex and multi-layered one that reflects our city's bright summers and fuels our cold winters.
Jazz Cartier
Breaking out with Marauding in Paradise, Jazz Cartier is at the front of the pack pushing cinematic trap — a sound laced in heavy snares and electronic synths created by in-house producer Lantz. The jagged beats layered with Jazz's melodic deliveries result in a potent mix of primitive angst and deep-house beauty.

Daniel Caesar
Following the recent release of Pilgrim's Paradise, it's clear that Daniel Caesar's musical journey is driven by self-reflection and worldly curiosity. Characterized by lustrous vocals, Daniel's music is crisp, but also as dynamic as a Quentin Tarantino film: structured, sharp and loaded with vivid imagery.

Brendan Philip
Taking contemporary R&B/soul to a new level, Brendan Philip accents it by adding experimental electronica, weighty synths and fragmented thoughts. Brendan pushes the boundaries by overlapping enigmatic production with warm vocals, resulting in the addition of a sophisticated layer to future bounce music.

Sean Leon
Sean Leon may be Toronto's wild child, but he has also played a strategic role in rebelling against traditional notions of our regional sound. Highlighted by the occasional Auto-Tune and ominous synths, Sean rests charismatic vocals on top of dark production to create his signature sound.

Seductively moody, Scarborough R&B crooner Pluto straddles the lines between bedroom confessionals and ice-cold breakups. Shaped by mellifluous ambient sounds, Pluto delivers stirring melodies over stripped-down instrumentals, all while nurturing the deep roots of soul music with silky vocals.

Latest Coverage