In 2017, I opted not to attend Canadian Music Week for no other reason than a lack of diversity – and let’s be real, the talent last year was hardly exciting. But they came back strong(er) in 2018 with both 2 Chainz and Cupcakke as headliners, as well as acts like CMDWN, Murda Beatz and Sango, as well as other Canadian talent like Wasiu, Kayo and Chippy Nonstop. CONFERENCE
This year’s CMW conference had the most hip-hop based panels and conversations I’ve ever seen — and though I won’t give myself all the credit for that, I will absolutely note that I curated two of the biggest panels, moderating one, and sat on a third panel featuring some major industry players.
Enough about me, though — Andre Harrell and Teddy Riley also sat down at CMW for a conversation with Tyrone Edwards and FrancisGotHeat broke down his beats with Aidan D’Aoust from SOCAN, while T-Minus participated in a mentor cafe and Ebony Haley of Revolt championed for women on an all-male panel.
Though there were still a few missteps, like the ‘Future is Female’ panel with nothing but [older] white women or a diversity breakfast with a diverse panel [Singer/Activist Lido Pimenta and Toronto rapper Tona were both panelists], the audience itself screamed ‘I was told by Apple Care’. And well, that same mentor cafe that T-Minus (and myself) participated in was treated like an afterthought — vendors were shutting down around us, the hotel itself was switching over the conference space while we were talking (even moving our tables so they can bring in dollys) and security was nowhere to be found.
It goes without saying that Cupcakke was a highlight of CMW – raw, raunchy and entertaining, she showed up and showed out for her debut Toronto performance, as did a sold-out crowd who was majority from the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, at the same time, Sango was performing across the city with the exact same set times — a problematic situation for any music fan. Bell Media’s annual IHeartFanFest also made a splash, calling on French Montana and Belly to perform as the sole rap artists, as well Baka who made an appearance.
Local showcases also proved to be great, though a bit scattered and overlapping. The festival closed out with 2 Chainz, who returned to the city six months after performing in a wheelchair. Though it wasn’t a sold-out event, the feels were there as we ran through both old and new songs, and thanked CMDWN and Murda Beatz for coming on the stage before him.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the weekend below, as shot by Tse Daniel. PS, 2 Chainz used his photo on Instagram to announce his retirement from #HairWeaveKiller.
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.