Best of 2009: City of the Year: Toronto

by Winston "Stone" Ford

DMV PEOPLE: Don’t front. I chose the DC Area as City of the Year Way Back in 2007, and many of the predictions that I made have came true. Baltimore, I chose you in 2006. Just sayin’.

Long considered Canada’s cultural capital, and the Great White North’s answer to New York City, Toronto for the most part has not registred in the concisness of most Americans. Even though T.Dot hip-hop has steady been on the grind (check …. from Much Music back in the day), the genre has even further been margenalzed in the mind of many heads.

But then came Drake. The child actor from Degrassi not only became a national, and International star, but he repped Toronto everywhere he went, and the top selling artist even got people South of the Border taking trips up North. My family friend’s daughter opted to forgo their annual New York trip in leiu of the T.Dot all on the strength of Drake (Travel Bureau….you need to cut the dude a check).

But Drizzy’s success has also opened the door for other artists to get noted. Most notably, Melanie Fiona, who’s classic soul seems next in line to the throne. Add to that the varitey of talent bubbling up Younge Street, including, K’Naan, K-OS, The Carps, Kardinal Offishall, KJ, Ayah, Slackah The Beatchild, and more that I haven’t even yet named.

Manifesto B-Boy

In addition, the annual Caribana festival is getting more looks down here than ever, and their Manifesto Festival of Hip-Hop culture, headlined by none other than Reflection Eternal and 9th Wonder, may have set the standard for community-focused urban festivals.

Just like DC has entered the venacular of kids in Iowa and Texas, The T Dot is set to do the same in 2010 and beyond. The amount of talent coming down the pipe is astonishing. The US better look up.

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