Tracing the origins of today's Toronto sound

Clifton Reddick, the co-founder of Battle of The Beatmakers talks about the musical roots of the sounds Toronto is currently presenting to the world.
Clifton Reddick a.k.a KLFTN. (Tony Kojo)

How would you describe the musical identity of a city? Maybe if you think about Seattle you think about Nirvana, Soundgarden and the grunge sound. If it's L.A. it might be Snoop, Dr Dre and the G-Funk sound they popularized in the early 90s. But what about a city like Toronto?

For local hip-hop heads like Clifton Reddick, Toronto's sonic identity has a long history going back to the 80s with Michie Mee and Maestro Fresh Wes. All the way to the present day with acts like Drake, Tory Lanez and Jazz Cartier.

And it's more than just the sound of the music. It's the way the artists rap, ad lib and reference their cultural identities.

Clifton Reddick is the co-founder of Battle of The Beatmakers, a producer-based competition that showcase the hip-hop sounds coming out of Toronto and the world.

It's an event that was the early stomping grounds for Grammy winning and platinum selling producers like Boi-1da, T-Minus and WondaGurl. Reddick has also written a short memoir on the city's hip-hop identity called Toronto Sound Volume 1.

Reddick takes us on a short journey with some of the songs that helped define the identity of Toronto's hip-hop scene. 

— Produced by Ty Callender


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.