Ottawa·Creator Network

Why emerging artist Lindasson says his Caldwell neighbourhood made him the rapper he is

Hip-hop artist Lindasson shares his story of growing up in an Ottawa community housing neighbourhood as part of CBC's Creator Network and for a new series about the housing struggles and solutions facing young Canadians called 'Unlocked.'

Shymar Brewster shows off his community housing area in this Creator Network video

Shymar Brewster, who goes by the moniker 'Lindasson,' grew up in Caldwell in Ottawa's west end. The hip-hop artist says the community built him into the performer he is today. (Jean-Jacques Ngandu)

Ottawa hip-hop artist Lindasson says he feels lucky to have been raised in the city's Caldwell neighbourhood, despite the challenges facing the west-end area.

"Growing up in the eyes of the neighbourhood is a blessing," said the 26-year-old, whose music touches on some of the highs and lows of living in community housing.

"One of the great things about Caldwell is having friends down the street around the corner."

Before establishing himself as a force in Ottawa's hip-hop scene, Lindasson, born Shymar Brewster, played basketball on a full-ride scholarship to Casper College in Wyoming.

He had envisioned a career in the sport and dreamed of playing for the NBA one day. But that all changed in February 2016. 

Lindasson was stepping off the practice courts when he received news his mother, Linda, had suffered a brain aneurysm and was in the ICU. He rushed home to be with his mother in her final hours before she passed away.

Lindasson then decided to return to Caldwell to look after his younger sister, gradually leaving basketball behind.

Shymar Brewster used this photo of himself and his mother Linda for the cover of his self-titled 2020 debut album. (Submitted by Shymar Brewster)

Instead, he picked up a microphone. In 2019, he began recording music under his current moniker, a tribute to his late mother that can be read as "Linda's son."

Now that he's a rising star in Ottawa's hip-hop scene, he says it's important to showcase the neighbourhood where he grew up.

For CBC Ottawa's Creator Network, Lindasson spoke to Peggea Bounda, host of the community podcast The House, about how the Caldwell community both supported his transition from basketball to hip hop and continues to profoundly impact his music. 

"Growing up in the eyes of the neighbourhood is a blessing."

1 year ago
Duration 5:44
In this CBC Ottawa Creator network piece, Lindasson, aka Shymar Brewster, showcases the Caldwell community housing neighbourhood that he says shaped him as a rapper. Thanks to Peggea Bounda, Jean-Jacques Ngandu and Lucas Arias-Valenzuela, the creative team that produced this piece.

Watch more housing stories by and for young Canadians at

This film is part of Unlocked: Housing stories by young Canadians, a national storytelling series by the CBC Creator Network. These personal stories, produced primarily by Gen Zs and Millennials, reveal the challenges young Canadians face finding affordable housing, their creative solutions and their hopes for the future. You can read more stories here.

To bring Lindasson's story to life, CBC Creator Network producers partnered with Jean-Jacques Ngandu (left) and Peggea Bounda (centre) from 'The House,' which highlights stories of adversity in Ottawa and has its roots in Ritchie Street's community housing. Also involved was Lucas Arias-Valenzuela (right), an Ottawa-based videographer. (Jean-Jacques Ngandu)

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.