The Hip-Hop and R&B scene in Toronto is entering a creative age that the north has never seen before. The plethora of talent the city produces on the daily continues to expand it’s reach on a global level, but it’s the scene’s local level that serves as the foundation for hip-hop’s growth in Toronto.
With the expansion of hip-hop has come a birth in innovative showcases that aid in the discovery and development of artists in hopes of pushing them to the next level.
Originated by WiseEntertainment and held at Karma X Wave, a culture collective clothing store with it’s own music studio in the basement; Creative Minds is a unique musical exhibition that goes beyond the traditional display of talent by incorporating the element of competition to each show and granting the winner further opportunities to work on their craft.
It’s a clever dynamic that not only gives artists incentives to show off their best stuff, but breeds an immense level of energy that is shared between competing artists, fans and artists, and fans amongst themselves. This is in part due to the fact that fans are also judges and they determine which artist ultimately earns free studio time.
Season 1 Episode 4 of Creative Minds featured seven unique artists that took to the stage in front of a packed venue, in hopes of being crowned champion. A title that would grant them the opportunity to compete in the season finale championship showcase of Creative Minds to be held in January.
The first of seven artists was quite the character with his camo jacket and vest.
“Lux” for short set the night off as the first artist. He’s a young energetic performer that doesn’t stop moving. Getting the crowd involved in his high intensity songs was a big part of his performance as he had the stage rocking to the beat of a banger by the name of TRON.
Although his sound and antics are no where near the same, his brash performance resembled that of Tekashi 6ix9ine: yelled vocals combined with reckless movements. It’s a turn up experience from the jump.
A cool, calm, collected rapper from the label BandKamp who came dripped out in a polo sweat suit. However, there was no showing off here as the first words he spoke on the mic were “I’m going to let the music do the talking.”
His first song Back 2 The Streets off his latest EP (of the same name), is a familiar one as the beat was used by Tory Lanez on his second album. What stands out on this song are his lyrics and delivery in which he touches on subjects of his past, and how he’s going to overcome it in order to get to where he wants to be.
Off the strength of his opening song he followed up with some bangers that got the crowd jumping throughout the night and that made for some difficult decisions by the crowd in the later rounds. The set was an enjoyable one from start to finish.
An artist with dual capabilities of singing and rapping, Maural Code was the third act of the night. What really stood out from his performance was the confidence to call out a girl by name of Cheyenne and state that he was going to sing to her. It was a bold move which set expectations high.
The song’s premise is focused on girls who move a certain way when dealing with guys. It’s a bop of a tune with mainstream potential and while vocally his performance may need a little work, his presence on stage never lacked.
A strong vocalist who’s performance didn’t miss a word or beat. Gee The Producer was on point during his exhibition of his songs Desire and Can’t Help It. There was a chill and close knit vibe in the crowd when he got on stage, and that translated to the other acts that followed. Desire is a wavy tune about a woman who’s the one, regardless of her current circumstance.
Alex In The Middle was a surprising act, but an artist that the crowd took notice of after his performance. Wise hyped up his vocal capabilities before hand, which would put a lot of pressure on some people, but Alex rose to the occasion and did not disappoint. Upon first glance, the young singer appears shy and to himself, but his singing prowess was a major standout of the night.
He opted to go acapella for the majority of his set, which brought a calm and intimate vibe to the stage and crowd alike. Everyone was hanging onto his every word as he stunned the crowd with his musical capabilities.
A personal favourite of Episode 4, Anika Marie is a talented R&B singer who shined bright during her time on stage. Accompanying her was a beautiful singing voice that was very reminiscent of singers from the 90’s. Her first song about love really changed the mood of the venue and brought everyone closer together as her voice rang through the crowd.
She followed that up with a strong performance of a cover/remix of SZA’s Love Galore which was on par with the superstar’s rendition. Be on the lookout for more of her music.
Last, but certainly not least was TrueJackzon. A versatile rapper that can spit with different styles but still find solace in his own sound. His presence on stage kept the crowd intrigued as his songs were booming from the stage. He got the crowd involved with bars, banging beats, and a grimey tone that stuck to the ears.
His track More floats and makes for a good drinking vibe which really hit during his performance.
Official Winner: Alex In The Middle