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If you go back through the history of rap music, you'll find a handful of essential figures: innovators like Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay all blazed the path to hip-hop. In this country, the blueprint was laid by Wes Williams, a.k.a. Maestro Fresh Wes. He paved the road for a generation of Canadian MCs like Kardinal Offishall, k-os and Drake.
The son of Guyanese immigrants, Wes grew up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough.
When he was 11, he heard 'Rappers Delight' by the Sugarhill Gang and became hooked on hip-hop. At 15, he was rapping freestyle on college radio. Then, at 21, he dropped the biggest rap song in Canadian history. 'Let Your Backbone Slide' hit number-one, while 'Symphony in Effect' was the first Canadian rap album to go platinum.
But it wasn't all easy. Wes's next two records didn't do as well and the mid-'90s were tough. Then in 1997 he came across 'These Eyes' by The Guess Who. And from that came 'Stick To Your Vision.' The song was a hit and launched the second phase of Wes's career. He got into acting and scored a Gemini nod for his role in 'The Line.'
Now, he's a motivational speaker with a new self-help book. It's called 'Stick To Your Vision - How To Get Past the Hurdles & Haters To Get Where You Want to Be.'