Ottawa rapper Corey Charron said he is devastated after learning what he called "an opportunity of a lifetime" to appear on the BET hip hop awards next week has gone up in smoke.
Charron thought he had won the right to appear on the show's annual cypher, where a collection of big-name rappers perform alongside up-and-coming performers, after he won the Freestyle Friday battle rap competition on 106 and Park, the flagship program of the Black Entertainment Network.
"It's an opportunity of a lifetime because it's just a platform where everyone's watching," said Charron. "It's kind of like when I was doing BET it was the regular season and then getting a chance to perform [there] it was like the Super Bowl."
But Charron said he didn't hear from the network leading up to next week's show and then this week got an email saying this year's cypher had been scaled down and that there wasn't room for the show's freestyle champion.
The network also said the cypher's direction has changed "towards artists that have huge projects that are current."
BET did not respond to CBC's request for an interview.
Charron also received $5,000 for winning the freestyle rap competition last March — where he had to out-duel fellow competitors in a back-and-forth improvisational style of rapping.
But he said he spent close to $3,000 of his own money going back and forth from Ottawa to New York to compete.
Already a touring artist, Charron saw the competition as an opportunity not for the monetary prize but as a chance for more exposure.
"I wanted to show people what I could do, it was a dream," he said.
He said he thinks he was cut loose from the cypher because he didn't fit the network's image.
"I'm a white Canadian [with] kind of like a a baby-faced nerdy look to me and I just really don't think they thought I was going to win the competition," said Charron.