Monday, June 19, 2006

Got Touched? Random Canadian Rap

So instead of doing a new post / overkill on Prince Paul, I thought I'd take this time to shine a bit of a spotlight on some dope Canadian independent hiphop, that, for the most part, has been overlooked by the masses (albeit, madly craved by rap record nerds worldwide.)

First up we got Concrete Mob. Consisting of DeuceDeuce and BlackJack, Concrete Mob dropped the ridiculously hot single, Boiling Point, in 1996 on Groove-A-Lot Records. It was featured on BeatFactory's Rap Essentials Vol. 1 (essential for anyone wanting to check some independent Canadian hip hop) and was by far the best song on the single as well as the best song of the Mob's career. According to the credits, the single was to be the leadoff to a forthcoming album entitled: Dreams, Snakes & Landscapes, but as far as I know/can tell, that album never did see the light of day. I know that a slimmed down Mob.. consisting of just DeuceDeuce at that point, dropped a single in 2001, that was not very noteworthy/good and they seem to have disappeared off the face of the rap planet, but I did come across their website here. Produced by Scam and engineered by the great Dr. Frankenstein, it's a single everyone should check.

Next up we have the Canadian indie favourite, Ice Breaker Classic from fairly-unknown crew, Brass Tacks. Beyond the fact that nobody I know in Toronto has this record (it being made in Toronto), I really can't tell you a lot. The boys from Down To Erf produced both songs on this record, which was one of maybe two or three records that Brass Tacks put out in their short-lived careers. Definately a 12" worth tracking down. Thanks to the homies over at for the picture, otherwise I'd have nothing to accompany this. If anyone has this 12" and wants to get rid of it, hit me up here.

As LA had its Project Blowed, and New York had its Lyricist Lounge, Toronto had our very own showcase of local talent dubbed Planet Mars. It was a place for local artists to perform and develop their talents and as one can see from the artists listed on this particular EP, it was a great beginning for many of Canada's top hiphop talent. Put out in collaboration between KneeDeep Entertainment and MMS Direct, this EP was to showcase the kind of talent that did perform at these shows and what a snapshot. As you can see from the picture, you get early tracks from K-Os, Nefarius, Frankenstein, Kardinal, Choclair, etc, etc.. and although none of the tracks are mindblowingly dope, its a good snapshot of the Toronto rap scene circa 1998. I got a little lazy on this one and just mp3'd one whole side of the record, so you get to hear (in order): "Conversations" by Solitair, Marvel & Choclair; "Rhyme, Shine & Buss" by Kardinal Offishall feat. YLooK; and "No Chorus" by the legendary Nefarius...

Got touched? Next up we got what I think is the future of Canadian hiphop. Invizible Touch has been putting it down for years behind the boards but are now preparing their debut album which is guarenteed to be fire. Ash Brigiz can rap.. dude is amazing, really.. and yeah, I know their will be obvious Eminem comparisons.. but being compared to one of the best contemporary rappers is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyhow, these are my boys and I hope to help put out their debut record so check out the song, check out their website at and support these cats, cause they are super dope.

Good ol' Saukrates. Probably the most famous and most talented of Canadian hip hop artists to emerge out of the mid 90's scene was Big Sox. He was signed to Redman's label but, unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever see an album on Gillahouse. Like his original LP, Father Time, Sauks seems to have a problem with getting full lengths released to the public, that is, unless they're r&b projects like his Big Black Lincoln vehicle. Anyhow, this isn't a Hate Runs Deep post, although I do suggest you find the song/record and listen to it, as its just some amazing hip hop. What I included here is actually a song from new Canadian talent, King Reign, featuring Sauks on the hook and one superhot verse. This song is really dope and King Reign can rap, I'm quite surprised this single didn't make more noise than it did. Subsequent to this 12", Reign joined forces with the reformed Brassmunk crew and can be heard on their new recordings.

  • King Reign - Guity Party feat. Saukrates (Guilty Party 12", Renegade, 2005)

    Mathematik first appeared on the scene as part of the Down To Erf crew who dropped a record or two but were known more for their production for other Toronto crews like Citizen Kane or the aforementioned Brass Tacks. Mathematik, or Math-U as he would later be known, decided to go solo around 1998 when he dropped his first solo single, Better By The Letter. A great song and a definate high point of the Canadian indie rap scene, Math got that dope laid back, intelligent flow, almost like a male version of Bahamadia. So right before he dropped his debut album in 1999, Ecology, Math appeared on some compilations which featured his track, Following Goals, featuring Bahamadia. Although the song was remixed by Frankenstein for a subsequent single from that album, Math-U had it remixed AGAIN and released as the 'debut' single from Ecology. Here, for your listening enjoyment, is Remix #2 (that I know of, at least) of Following Goals, from his leadoff single to Ecology, featuring Bahamadia.

Lastly, I close with what I believe was a one-off single by Toronto rap crew, N.O.N.-E.Quation.. not much info on this one either unfortunately. It was released in 1997 on Blueprint Records, the same label that put out much of Thrust's work and was produced by a friend of my homie DJ Dialog's... DJ Muziklee Inzane. Nothing terribly mindblowing here, but a good snapshot indicative of that mid-to-late 90s Canadian indie rap sound.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

cooool shit

6:48 PM  
Anonymous bigmil said...

Sick as fuck.

Could you please up the second side of the planet mars ep? I've been looking for it for years.

Thanks man, keep up the good work.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it »

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Concrete Mob is BACK! I just shot a videoFACT music video for CM. The song is called Maybe Next Time and it features Trish. It's on Much Music a lot right now, and you can check out concrete mob at, or look them up on the much site.

Alex Colt (director / producer)

12:51 PM  
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