Toronto’s rap scene has been on a wave for the last four years and, moving into 2018, it’s not slowing down. Here are six acts poised to have a major year
Killy is the most viral non-Drake rapper to emerge from Toronto in years and it’s easy to see why: armed with a mellifluous flow that’s equally engaging over brooding production and a cappella, the 20-year-old is poised to be our next breakout star. Thanks to singles Killamonjaro, No Romance and Distance and his melodic, halting and slurring flow full of Toronto slang, he has over 43 million streams across platforms. At a mid-December showcase at the Phoenix, Killy drew the biggest reaction from the young crowd on a bill that also featured more experienced local emcees like ShaqIsDope, Tasha the Amazon and Sean Leon. Soon we’ll be able to see how far his lightning-in-a-bottle can carry him. A full-length is expected in 2018.
Hendryx typically gets left out of conversations about the city’s up-andcomers, and that’s a shame because she’s one of our brightest voices. She can do it all, from PREEPAID, a punchy and stylish EP with producer JMak heavy on petty kiss-offs and wry humour, to standout song Rain Or Snow, a melodic ode to self-reliance and the grind. She’s got a laid-back jubilance that’s also totally self-assured. In 2018, Hendryx plans to release a video for Dirty Dancer and drop another collaborative project with JMak by spring.
Pressa proved himself last year with a pair of mixtapes and, most notably, Novacane, a three-minute ominous force of a tune he featured on by rising Fort Erie producer Murda Beatz. Buoyed by his high-pitched sing-song flow and sneaky wordplay, the song quickly received co-signs from the Weeknd, Meek Mill and Toronto’s reigning rap emperor, Drake, who liked the 21-year-old so much, he brought him to Europe as an opener on the Boy Meets World Tour. Pressa’s Tory Lanez collab, Canada Goose, scored 1 million YouTube views in a week, while his work with Metro Boomin on his second mixtape of 2017 put him in the upper ranks. Now he’s making his own co-signs – on the horizon for 2018 is a rumoured collab with fellow rising star Killy.