An extension of the Academy’s very own Culture Clash series in a city with one of the largest West Indian populations outside the Caribbean. Legendary crews playing on massive soundsystems face off in the city’s first ever cross-genre soundclash, hosted by Toronto’s own Kardinal Offishall. The crews battling for the crowd’s favour at Echo Beach are Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation, Mad Decent, LuckyMe and Toronto All Stars. This will be the highlight for the critically acclaimed Manifesto Festival Of Community and Culture taking place in Toronto over a seven-day period.
Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation, Mad Decent (South Rakkas Crew, Dillon Francis, Paul Devro, DJ Sega), LuckyMe (Rustie, Lunice, Just Blaze, Hudson Mohawke), Toronto All Stars (Lissa Monet, DJ Mensa, Lindo P, Starting From Scratch), Kardinal Offishall.
Doors Open 6pm
Echo Beach - Ontario Place
$30 at the door
A high-powered live performer with artistic roots as strong in reggae as they are in rap, Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall is a perennial fixture on international charts, thanks in part to his signing with Akon’s Konvict Muzik imprint. Eminently creative, industry-savvy, and an accomplished producer to boot, his last full length release ‘Not 4 Sale’ was bolstered by stellar beats from the likes of Nottz and Jake One.
Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation
A hip hop founding father, Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame nominee, master of records. The cornerstone of eclectic DJing, South Bronx-bred pioneer Afrika Bambaataa shook up the neighbourhood more than 30 years ago with a unique format of truly diverse sounds. An originator of hip hop culture, Bam charged the battery in its back which propelled it from New York blocks to the world.
South Rakkas Crew
With an accomplished history crafting clean-cut pop tracks for ‘N Sync as well as grimy dancehall riddims for Mr Vegas and Elephant Man, Orlando’s prolific producer/DJ duo South Rakkas Crew got their collaborative artist career off to a flying start with the Mad Decent-released EPs ‘Mad Again’ and ‘The Mix-Up’. Alex Greggs and Dennis Shaw’s music embraces digital funk, electro and dancehall-infused pop, as evidenced on last year’s free download ‘The Stimulus Package’ LP.
Mad Decent’s creative and musical director has an unfair advantage over other DJs – early insider access to the label’s just-finished next big hits. This privileged position has esteemed publications like Dazed, The Fader and XLR8R queuing up for mixtapes from the man from Vancouver; he’s also no slouch in a live setting, holding it down for MD at parties worldwide.
A brand new name yet already at the forefront of the flourishing Moombahton phenomenon, LA native Dillon Francis’s quick ascent is down to the instant appeal of his frenzied dancefloor number with Diplo and Maluca, ‘Que Que,’ and his tasteful ‘Westside!’ EP. Electro fiends, music-hungry hipsters and, according to reports, adult movie stars are drawn to his shows; between remixing Calvin Harris and Toddla T he also finds time to fit in releases for Dim Mak, Top Billin’ and Plant Music.
Glasgow’s prodigal son and bloggerati favourite Rustie has been responsible for some of the most mind-boggling, genre-straddling tunes of recent years. With a fanbase including FlyLo, Modeselektor and Kode9, and a brilliant debut album for Warp set to drop this fall, this young’n’s future looks nothing but bright. Beats? Glitch? Post-Wonktrance? Honestly, we couldn’t care less: it’s just bloody brilliant.
This Canadian producer, DJ, dancer and natural born entertainer takes on cues from Warp, Lex Luger, Dilla and Ed Banger to make the dancefloors bump and bass bins thump. ‘One Hunned’, his seminal new EP for LuckyMe marks the follow-up to last year’s stunner ‘Stacker Upper’. And as a popular remixer, Lunice has found the missing link between The xx, Deerhunter and Waka Flocka Flame. Swag!
When it comes to next-level beats, HudMo is your man to call: even superproducer Just Blaze heaped lavish praise on his rave-reviewed Warp EP, ‘Satin Panthers’. Still, his music transcends any categorisation as ‘Wonky’ or ‘Beats Generation’, with artists as varied as Chris Brown, Egyptian Hip Hop and Jamie Woon standing in line for his otherworldly turbo-soul tracks. Glasgow FTW!
From in-house beatmaker at Roc-a-Fella to architect of countless chart-topping rap anthems which somehow satisfy both purists and pop tastes alike, Just Blaze’s startlingly prodigious output has kept him at the forefront of hip-hop production for more than a decade. A New Jersey native, his golden touch has been cast upon everyone from T.I. to Jay Electronica, with a contribution to Dr. Dre’s mythical Detox project rumoured to be in the bag.
Starting From Scratch
Canada’s numero uno, main man on the wheels of steel and local spin doctor DJ Starting From Scratch runs Toronto’s airwaves every evening drivetime with his popular FLOW 93.5 FM mixshow. A staple on the hip hop scene for nearly 20 years, SFS is equally prominent on the domestic and international club circuit, too, having shared the stage with the likes of DJs Jazzy Jeff and Spinbad during his award-laden career.
As one of Canada’s top DJs, this multi-award winning Torontonian is the go-to girl for all things new and fresh, and her mixes see her blending The XX alongside Beyonce, or Foreign Exchange with 80’s classics. Not bound to genres or styles,she’s gained a cult following throughout North America and further afield, as well as fans like will.i.am, Drake and Ludacris.
Philadelphian DJ prodigy, DJ Sega might still only be in his early twenties, but he’s already become a mainstay of the U.S. club scene, and noosed up a deal with Diplo’s quality imprint Mad Decent. Although raised on his father’s classic soul collection, it was the block parties of his hometown where he developed his instinct for bassy breaks. As a producer and remixer, Sega connects the best from Baltimore, Jersey and Philly with a quirky playfulness best displayed in his bumpy re-rubs of well-known cartoon themes.
This DJ and performer has been lighting up the Toronto scene for time, whether with legendary crews like Red Flame and Heat Wave, or more recently as a singer with Frank ‘n Dank, Danny O, and home-grown hip hop superstar, Konvict Muzik’s Kardinall Offishall. His alterego Lindissimo was invited by Kardinal Offishall to join ‘The Black Jays’, a group of international urban artists.
Mensa has a storied DJ pedigree, having long ago won over Toronto’s notoriously tough crowds, where one wrong selection has left many an out-of-towner facing a facing a sea of dissatisfaction. While other DJs rely on slick imaging and name dropping to get by, this battle champ’s no nonsense skill set has remained the same: stellar song selection with blatant disregard for genre divisions, precise cuts, and the ability to start a ruckus.
Run Them A Run
Toronto’s Reggae Heritage (written by Zaid Mudhaffer)
For many Jamaicans, Toronto is a home away from home. The early 1960s saw the unbuckling of Canada’s immigration act; at the close of the decade the enforcement of the Family Reunification programme opened the doors even wider, rocketing Canada’s Jamaican population. The migration catalysed cultural shifts: these days, the Caribbean Carnival, held every summer since 1967, is attended by more than a million people. And of course, this diaspora is reflected in the T-Dot’s fine musical heritage. Restless at home, and discouraged by the glut of Jamaican musicians already climbing up the politics-laden industry ladder in nearby America, Canada became a hotbed for imported reggae talent, with greats like Jackie Mittoo and Johnny Osbourne among the many who fled north to new lives.
The Seattle label Light In The Attic’s sterling compilations, ‘Jamaica To Toronto, 1967 – 1974’ and ‘Summer Records Anthology, 1974 – 1988’ collect some of the sublime music produced by various Studio One, Treasure Isle and Trojan old hands following their relocation to Canada. Launched in 1974 by Jerry Brown and producer Oswald Creary, Summer Records debuted brightly with Johnny Osbourne and Bunny Brown’s feel-good ‘Love Makes The World Go Round.’ A kind of Canadian version of Lee Perry’s buzzing Black Ark studio in feel, Summer produced a riveting one-off six-track LP for Alton Ellis’ son Noel in 1979 with Willie Williams and revered Skatalites pianist Jackie Mittoo on board (Mitoo recorded three albums himself in Canada, a resident since the late 1960s). They enjoyed moderate success, with most of the music put down by the Earth, Roots and Water house band, but struggled with geographic bias and would later resort to stretching the truth by printing ‘Made In Jamaica’ on their labels to reassure dubious customers. Later, Brown green-lit a split-label 12 inch with childhood friend Lloyd Barnes’ hot Wackies imprint in New York.
The most rewarding review of this scene, though, is British imprint PK’s superlative compilation ‘Glory, Dominion, Majesty, Power’, a slick, assiduous study of Toronto-based reggae label Half Moon’s gripping output. Formed after Creary split from Summer Records and Jerry Brown in 1975, the label released local talent like Dill Smith and Pat Satchmo but also roped in established stars like Johnny Osbourne, Stranger Cole and Leroy Sibbles, lead singer of crucial rocksteady troupe The Heptones. Half Moon’s in-house backing band, the Super 8 Corporation, shone on gems like Stranger’s sparse, hypnotic ‘Freedom, Justice & Equality’, and standout cuts like Joe Higgs’ Augustus Pablo-helmed classic ‘Creation’ are firmly ensconced in the deep reggae canon – Canadian or otherwise.