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Essential Mandem Documentary 'The Real Toronto' Returns to Big Up the City's Rap Scene

After 12 long years, Toronto is finally gifted with the sequel it deserves featuring the likes of Devontée, Robin Banks and... Quavo?

They say there are some things in life that don't need a sequel. Well, too bad because the ambitious-by-fault directors of The Real Toronto have returned after 12 years with follow-up, The Retour Toronto, which was previously known as The Real Toronto 2. For the uninitiated, which means most of you blessed individuals, The Real Toronto (directed by Madd Russian) is a documentary of the city's local hip-hop community in 2005 that follows various human beings across different blocks in the GTA. The timing of the initial projects is significant to highlight because that same year was labeled by then-Toronto Mayor David Miller as 'The Summer of the Gun,' which contributed to its virality. Even so, it's become an accidental cultural touchstone of the city and has been passed down generations (well, one generation) in the vein of other classics such as Shottas or Paid in Full, with some of the worst handheld cinematography known by man.


The Retour Toronto proudly continues this lineage in the modern age. With some improvements in editing and camera quality, there are signature shots of mandem in the hallways passionately discussing the current state of hip-hop, mandem shooting unsolicited music videos in parking lots and rented condos, and long-forgotten tales of the past shared while sitting in the center of a couch with random heavy breathing coming from mandem in the background. It also comes with a much needed Microsoft Paint map that treks along South Etobicoke, Weston Road, Driftwood Ave, Parma Court, Blake Street, Malvern, and many other areas that will likely hold no meaning to the rest of the world. And that's fine because this was not made for you.

The real heart and charm of these videos are the earnest attempts at showcasing the different sections of Toronto and local acts that haven't fully penetrated the mainstream. The likes of which includes videographer T Dot Solutionz and artists such as Devontée, Hassan "Top 5" Al, and Robin Banks, who is currently recovering after being shot multiple times. The timing of this is also important as it shows Toronto in a post-Drake landscape and the feeling by many here that their talent is finally being recognized by an international audience. This newfound love from our American brethren is exemplified by one Quavo of the Migos, who seems mildly confused by his snow-peaked settings. Nevertheless, watch what will surely be a future Toronto classic below.

Jabbari Weekes was once a Malvern youth but he's focused, you know? Follow him on Twitter.

Jordan Hayles is a Midtown displaced individual of Scarborough origin. DUN KNO! EAST SIDE TING TO DI WORLD!. Follow him on Twitter too.