In 1994, Derek Brin told Billboard, “Americans like something that sounds American.” The celebrated rap record producer’s words would appear to be true, as it took another 14 years for Canadian rap artist Kardinal Offishall’s feature on Akon’s song “Dangerous” to chart. It was not long after that when Canadian actor and rapper Drake first started his decades-long domination over the hip-hop charts in the early 21st century starting with ’09’s “Best I Ever Had”.
According to the Canadian hip-hop entry of the hiphopdatabase.fandom.com, Caribbean culture influences Black Canadian culture more often than it does Black American culture. As a result, countries like Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Bahamas all impact English-language Canadian rap artists’ musical stylings. As well, Haitian music is extremely influential for French-language artists.
Jazz, electronic, blues, folk, rock, and country are all genres that integrate the beats and rhythms of Canadian rap. Buck 65’s unique sound has been one of the strongest trend-setters for Canadian hip-hop music in the new century. The internet allows audiences to discover newer artists, like Ontario’s 347aidan, who continue to explore the endless possibilities of how Canadian rap music can sound.
American rap from both coasts inform things like the cadence and flow of Canadian rap artists even if American audiences never hear them. In Canada, rappers can be popular enough with fans to record and tour and still never once qualify for the Top 100. FRVRFRIDAY references both American rapper Ice Cube and Drake in “Time & It’s Order” with lyrics, “I been in the west like I’m Ice Cube/Shoulda’s woulda’s girl, I know/It’s fake love.”
Hiphopdatabase reports, “The stereotypes of Canada as a land of igloos and hosers get in the way of Canadian rappers being taken seriously.” AR Paisley’s song lyrics for “222” reflect the loyalty extreme isolation like this can breed.
“I might buy a beach house but this is where I stay at/Ice river, chinchilla” reflect the fierce hometown loyalty isolation can breed.
“Where I Came From”
Though Canada may not be viewed internationally as a hotbed for hip-hop related activity, the country’s cultures, subcultures, and countercultures support the artistic cultivation of rap music. Canadian rapper, Hoodbaby Peppa, also told 6ix.buzz, “[my neighborhood in Toronto] can really traumatize and break people, but it’s what made me who I am today.” TwoTiime, another Canadian rapper from Ottawa, said to 6ix.buzz, “I am simply just a product of my environment”.
Listen to his latest single.