A new generation of beat-makers has been rising through Toronto’s underground.
Over the past few years, Toronto’s hip-hop/R&B scene has blossomed into a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. Now that the city is a few superstars deep, the door to the American market is wide open for emerging artists who want to step through it. It’s an enticing thought that’s inspired hordes of young Toronto rappers and singers to dive into the music scene.
Of course, when there’s lots of artists running around the city, the demand for beats and instrumentals goes up, and there’s been quite a few producers who have stepped up to the plate. There’s the big name OVO crew, featuring 40, Boi-1da, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and more, but there’s also smaller-scale producers who’ve been dipping their toes into the industry. Some have successfully gotten their work into the hands of big artists but have yet to fully get their break, others are still grinding away in the underground, taking the slow and steady approach.
In order to introduce you to some of them, we’ve rounded up five Toronto producers that caught our attention. If this were a few years ago, we would have included Wondagurl, but having produced for the likes of Kanye West and Travis Scott, I think it’s safe to say that she’s made it.
If you’ve been paying attention to Ramriddlz, you’ve undoubtedly seen the name Jaegen. The 24-year-old producer first linked up with Ram while attending Ryerson University in Toronto, and the two have been working together extensively ever since. With a sound that can range from moody, atmospheric R&B to more up-tempo dancehall, Jaegen is showing himself to be a very flexible producer.
Half of the production duo MostHigh, Daniel Worthy has produced for artists such as Tory Lanez, Drake, Amir Obe and more. His glide-bass heavy instrumentals can range from grimy and aggressive, to more subtle and relaxed, and Daniel actually caught a Grammy nomination this past year for his production on Drake’s “Star67.”
Also known as Jazz Cartier’s right hand man, Michael Lantz has been making quite the name for himself over the past few years. His production is clean, high-impact and certainly played a role in crafting Cartier’s sound from Marauding In Paradise onward. Everybody’s asking: “Lantz, is that you?”
SunSun is a resident producer for Above Top Secret, an experimental hip-hop trio based out of Toronto and member of 88 Days of Fortune, a queer-friendly music and arts collective whose tape we premiered at the end of last year. SunSun’s production is often bathed in distortion and boasting a full, boomy low-end. It can be hectic, but also laid-back and psychedelic, as instantly cool as her fashion design.
FrancisGotHeat is a self-described multi-instrumentalist and up and coming producer. He’s worked on quite a few tracks for Roy Wood$, including four songs from Roy’s latest project Waking At Dawn. Francis’ instrumentals are lush and colourful, using plenty of melody and instrumentation to create wonderfully dynamic and entertaining beats.