by David Klaassen
2016 has been a massive year for Toronto rap thus far and it’s only expected to get bigger as we approach the second half of the year. Drake’s new album and his OVO colleagues tend to dominate the headlines, but a really encouraging trend worth noting is the growing diversification of the city’s rap game that’s producing a whole slew of new producers as proof that there’s more to it than Drake and more Drake.
We’ve compiled a list of emerging Toronto hip-hop producers to keep an eye on as their careers continue to grow. Although some of them are either members of or strongly affiliated with OVO, their individual work speaks for itself and is a testament to the phenomenal development of Toronto’s hip hop scene.
Hailing from Brampton, the 22 year old producer has been making inroads into Toronto’s upper echelons of high quality producers with his smooth and dark instrumentals and jaw dropping beats.
Another Brampton native, Eestbound’s the man behind Travis Scott’s Antidote and Young Thug’s Freaky and a big player in reshaping the rap genre’s sound and aesthetic.
Hard to call him up and coming anymore, but Lantz is the man behind the budding genre of cinematic trap and Jazz Cartier’s monumental success over the past calendar year. This producer deserves all the recognition he can get. The man’s beats are irreverent and aggressive, but he has a variety that goes well beyond his work with Jazz.
Despite not having secured any major co-sign to his name yet, Worthy’s collaborations with Tory Lanez and Drake are ample proof of the producer’s ability. His SoundCloud offers up a wealth of varied beats that you could spend hours listening to.
We’re calling nineteen85 up and coming simply because of the gap that exists between this man’s discography and the recognition that has been eluding him. Granted this has changed somewhat over the past couple of months with the huge success of dvsn’s debut album Sept 5, but the man behind the beats of 0-100, Truffle Butter and Too Much is finally branching out on his own and getting the recognition that he deserves, so we hope that 2016 is only a taste of things to come for this incredibly talented producer.
Byer’s beat on Steve Nash was probably the biggest reason behind the huge success of OB O’Brein’s signature track, and the producer’s portfolio is super impressive as he’s poised to add his own mark on the city’s rap game.
Better known as the man behind the production of SmashMouth’s DillanPonders, Tay Lewis has put together a solid musical portfolio to his name, with a steady combination of solo instrumentals and collaborations. But we’ll let you be the judge, dig around his SoundCloud page and see for yourself.
LordQuest has amassed quite a solid resume over the years, with 2015 being an especially massive year for the Toronto native. His beats on Schoolboy’s Blind Threats were pure fire and he’s produced with other big names like Asher Roth, Dom Kennedy and Talib Kweli. Some of his lesser known work, such as his collaborations with fellow Toronto producer Junia-T, are incredible, so you’d be doing yourself a huge service by giving them a listen as soon as possible.
There’s no way we could include one half of the Chef’s Plate duo while snubbing the other. Junia-T is one of the more versatile artists on the list, having established a reputation with his bars as much as he has done with his beats. The man’s career has really taken off since 2015 and there’s no sign of him stopping any time soon.
As one of the in-house producers for the SmashMouth Music Group, M-Mac has done a ton of work with Toronto’s notorious up and coming rapper DillanPonders and is one of chief architects behind the group’s signature dark and eerie sound. His beats serve as the perfect backdrop for DillanPonders and has been a huge contributor to the rapper’s success.