The Canadian Invasion Has Landed
Back in 2007, Sam Crespo of Atlantic Records said that the next regional scene to blow would be Canada (those wern’t his exact words, I’m quoting from another source).
I’ve only been north of the border once, back in 2006, when Reggaeton was at an all time high. I gotta say, Vancouver’s club scene surprised me. A diverse selection of music was at display from French-Canadian Hip Hop to English-Canadian Hip Hop. It was a reflection of the melting pot of nationalities, as there are large Caribbean, African and French communities scattered around the country. There’s Kardinal Offishall, who blends elements of reggae and dancehall into his music. Then you have K’Naan. A Somali born rapper who with the right marketing, could move good units in Canada and Internationally, without compromising his artistic integrity.
Now I’m not saying that all the Canadian’s get along,its a big country, so there will always be a sense of regionalism no matter where you go. But if these artists were somehow cross promoted, the way Southern U.S artists are, then this could help ensure that the Canadians are here to stay.
Melanie Fiona currently has the number 1 record in this country in It Kills Me. (Billboard HipHop/R’n’B Chart). Fiona hails from Toronto and is of Guyanese descent, but can also trace her lineage back to India and Portugal. A good story/background can appeal to certain demographics more than others, so the international market must be taken into account with her. I admit, I’m a fan of hers which makes me a little bit biased. Vocally, she reminds me a little bit of Monica.
Clearly somebody consulted the labels soon after, as many have already been signed by the majors back here.
Drake and Justin Bieber have already become household names worldwide. Bieber isn’t exactly a hip hop artist, but the Usher affiliation and Hip-Hop/R’n’B style beats enable him to appeal to different markets a la Justin Timberlake. He definitley has the potential to get to that level. Bieber has one Platinum album,one Platinum single and several Gold plaques in the U.S, all at the age of 15. Amazing, when you consider he did this in under a year….and the E.P went Platinum. The boy can sing, there is no denying that.
Artists such as Bishop Brigante, K-OS, Saukrates, Page and Shad have been making movements in the Canadian Hip Hop scene for years. Could one of these guys be next up? I cosign Shad, he has a distinct voice, nice flow and some interesting concepts. But who knows what will happen?
We’re all familiar with G.O.O.D Music DJ/Producer DJ A-Trak. His creativity is something to admire, and he uses a good selection of samples for his beats. But then there’s Boi-1da who has been steadily crafting bangers and had a great year in 2009. Its clear to see that he’s destined to make some big moves in the future with his Atlanta influenced sound. Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib were key players behind future star, Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape. Its only a matter of time before these guys end up with a string of hits under their belts. We should also watch out for Attic, DJ Kemo & hAZEL who were behind the big success of Dangerous.