This article first appeared on Noisey Canada
A spotlight has been fixed upon Toronto's music scene in recent years. Hoisted up by the city's big two—Drake and The Weeknd—the place once known as the "Screwface Capital" has gained an international reputation as one of the world's most eclectic and valuable music communities. The question of how this spotlight has actually benefitted artists in the city beyond them, however, remains to be answered. Every week, we introduce artists who are relatively unknown, or who we feel are deserving of more praise. Yet lots of great artists get lost in the mix—diluted by their peers and smothered by an endless stream of competing content.
Today, we are hoping to take the first step to fix that.
Over the last several months, we've reached out to artists from all across the Greater Toronto Area—some of whom you're familiar with, others you're not—to put together a comprehensive project called the Toronto Rap Map. This project features extensive photo essays containing over 50 Toronto artists who have been particularly active over the last couple of years, divided into three zones: West Toronto (Brampton, Etobicoke, and Mississauga), Downtown Toronto, and East Toronto (North York, Scarborough). The area designations of these artists were made according to the neighbourhoods they personally identify with (i.e. where they were raised or record). In addition, the zones are split, relatively accurate to their map designations, to make for an easily accessible one-stop hub to find artists from each region. We believe these pieces will add depth to the sights, sounds, and creativity behind Toronto's up-and-coming stars—most of whom exist outside of the OVO/XO umbrella—and the GTA itself.
Ultimately, the purpose of the project is to not only show how diverse our music scene is to the world but also showcase what it lacks. And though we take pride in who are currently featured, it's important to note that this project will be updated with new artists on a quarterly basis. Much like the burgeoning movements that change and alter Toronto's sonic landscape constantly, our vision for the future of Toronto Rap Map is to continuously big up artists who we believe should be on your radar with more to come. Click on the regions below: