Although Canadian Music Week has always been deeply rooted in the rock-pop world, slowly, but surely, they’re realizing that hip-hop music has become a multi-billion dollar industry world wide. Although the progress hasn’t been as quick as I’d like, there’s still a number of great artists – both in hip-hop and R&B – who are given the chance to play this revered industry week, and I literally mean, industry week. Everyone from label execs and investors walk the CMW roads looking for their next talent they can pour their money into, but here’s who we’d give our attention to first.
Tori Kelly @ Massey Hall
I think this may be sold out, which sucks – but who knows, maybe you have a CMW badge and can make it. Tori Kelly is that voice that America loves, and face that men want to marry. Tix here.
The Remix Project Presents Adria Kain, Leila Dey & More @ Rivoli
As a part of the Remix Project’s ongoing mandate to promote artists and such (if you noticed on the Summer Sixteen packages, a % of money will be donated to this organization), they’ve grabbed an all-women cast for a night at the Rivoli. And it’s FREE.
JD Era @ The Nest
If rappity rap is more you thing this night, you can definitely head out to catch JD Era at Te Nest – of course, JD was once signed to Raekwon and has had a longstanding rap career in the city thus far. He’ll be joined by Scarborough singer Surauchie, who says their influences are the likes of Beyonce, Ashanti, Lauryn Hill, Neyo. Tix here.
Es, Cellis, DGS Samurai Champs & Keffaleng @ The Nest
From Mississauga and Baltimore to Regina and , this showcase is the end-all be-all of new faces – and alternative faces – to the hip-hop scene. Es, Cellis, DGS Samurai Champs and Keffaleng will hit the late night stage at The Nest. Tix here.
Trish, Juma & More @ The Cave
Serving as a showcase that focuses on the ‘alternative’ artists in their respective genres, The Cave will be filled with aritsts like Pop-R&B-Atl artist Trish, alternative-hip hop Bostonite JUMA, as well as some indie pop rockers, and a man named Andrew Briol who the website compares to Bruno Mars and JT (that’s bold). Tix here.
Yuna and Bosco @ The Mod Club
Two artists, two incredible sounds. Yuna presents an acoustic, soothing alternative-pop sound, but also has the feels of soulful R&B to the likes of Adele and Norah Jones, while ATL’s Bosco, who was recognized by Fool’s Gold, pulls raw elements of R&B and dance to create an electrifying sound. Tix here.
KIDS, Noyz, Smino, Kaydee and Kevin Abstract @ Adelaide Hall
The kids will be alright – well, that’s what Thursday night at Adelaide Hall seems to suggests. The American-Canadian bridge will lead the 5-artists showcase through the night, with Canadians such as KIDS, Noyz and Kaydee, and Americans Smino and Kevin Abstract taking the stage. Tix here.
D.R.A.M. w/ Ken L Jones, Crossword, Flex the Antihero and Jimmy B @ Revival
After cancelling his concert earlier this year – specifically to do CMW, D.R.A.M. returns to Toronto to perform alongside locals Jimmy B, Flex the Antihero, Crossword and Ken L. Jones at Revival. Tix here.
Bonus: Combat Jack is speaking on a panel at the conference, and also taking part in one-on-ones.
Skepta w/ Sha & Keita Juma @ The Danforth Music Hall
The Brits and Torontonians have a special bond, especially those who happen to have been raised in and around West Indian cultures. With that being said, we welcome “home” Skepta at the Danforth Music Hall for what should be one of the highlights of CMW. But he’s not the only person on the bill – Toronto’s KJ (via Bristol, UK) and Sha. Limited tickets at the door.
Mura Masa w/ NAO & bonzai @ The Mod Club
While Skepta will be at the Danforth, fellow UK artist Mura Masa will be headlining The Mod Club. Co-signed by Diplo and Skillex already, UKK arrest Mura Masa finds himself somewhere between Flying Lotus and Cashmere Cat, resulting in him quickly becoming a Soundcloud sensation. Mura will be joined by London R&B singer NAO and Ireland’s Electro-R&B artist bonzai. Limited tickets at the door.
Radio Radio w/ Dead Obies & More @ The Great Hall
Ever want to know what Canadian French hip-hop was like? Well, this would be the show. MTL’s Radio Radio headlines the show, alongside the Dead Obies (also playing May 7th), alongside some folk, garage and indie artists before them. Tix here.
King Visionary, Tremayne, Ezzy & More @ FUSE
As a part of the Great Lakes Alliance movement, The Academy has put together a cross-border show that includes Americans King Visionary, Ezzy and Waldo, and thrown them alongside local acts like Adira Kain, Tremayne and Living Proof for – well, that alliance type of hip-hop/R&B showcase. Tix here.
Bonus: Kardinal Offishall and Combat Jack are hosting the Drake Hotel with a 4AM last call!
MTL x BK @ Adelaide Hall
It’s a Montreal-BK invasion at Adelaide Hall, and the M for Montreal Festival and Brooklyn Vegan is curating this dope lineup – some of which I’m familiar with, some of which I’m ready to see. Alongside acts like H09909 and Dead Obies, Wasiu (who released the pretty epic MTLiens last year and the Posterz are hitting the stage. Definitely not worth missing. Tix here.
Willy J Peso, Tanisha, Scott Ramirez & More @ FUSE
As the follow up to Friday’s Great Alliance showcase, The Academy gathers even more artists to put together a part two of the US-Canadian pack – with even more artists. The late-night set includes Baltimore’s Destrukshawn, Ducky Dynamo, :3ION, Pensacola’s Big Lo, Detroi’s Willy J Peso and Toronto’s Prince Rose, Scott Ramirez and Tanisha. Tix here.
32 Canadian Artists @ Comfort Zone
I want to say good things about this massive line-up, except I know nothing about it nor do I know who Fred E Fame is and I only know Comfort Zone as the after-hours spot riddled with junkies and illegal drugs. With that being said, in the spirit of new artists discovery, there’s 32 people on the bill and no set times. Surprise! If anyone has information, feel free to hit me on Twitter. Tix here.
Zoo Legacy @ The Cave
Although not 100% hip-hop, Zoo Legacy has definitely captured the audience with their smooth blends and live instrumentation. Not for nothing, you’re definitely going to get a great indie show mixed in with traditional hip-hop if you head to The Cave on Saturday. Tix here.
Above Top Secret, Living Proof & More @ The Painted Lady
Above Top Secret and Living Proof are headlining the Painted Lady on Saturday, providing that Digable Planets, alternative type feel for the night. The two group swill also be joined by Jacksonville, FL’s Breeze Davinci, Toronto’s Rico Mu$e, Keffaleng and Black Lion. Tix here.
Kiki Rowe, Heartstreets and Amir Obe @ The Mod Club
We’ve featured them all on the site at one point or another, and with good reason. MTL’s pop-soul R&B group Heartstreets takes the stage alongside Mississauga’s Kiki Rowe and Brooklyn’s Amir Obe will go head to head with a few other artists at the Mod Club. Tix here.
Bonus: You can catch Rich Kidd at The Silver Dollar at… 3AM, if you’re still awake, that is.
From us to you, happy CMW!
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.