Alessia Cara, Here
The Brampton-raised singer flipped a familiar Isaac Hayes sample into an outsider anthem for anyone who’d rather be chilling in the cut than the centre of attention. Cara is the latest in a string of young 905ers (WondaGurl, PartyNextDoor, Roy Woods) to break out of the burbs and go global in the past couple of years.
Devontée, Bare Tings
Although he’s credited with inventing of-the-moment acronym “WOES” that Drake used in T.O. anthem Know Yourself (and on a line of hats), Devontée is still an underground act. Nothing is more Toronto 2015 than his single Bare Tings.
Drake, Back To Back Freestyle
The viral success of Back To Back Freestyle, Drake’s response track to Philly MC Meek Mill’s ghostwriting accusations, demonstrated that Drizzy’s social media game is as tight as his rhymes. He played the song twice at OVO Fest, giving the sixth annual event fresh energy and narrative drama just as the “which celebrity is behind door number one” conceit was starting to get old.
Dilly Dally, Desire
Buzz Records is one of the hottest indie labels in the city right now thanks to a roster of bands whose affinity for pop hooks is a strong as their taste for grungy 90s aesthetics. Dilly Dally’s summer single suggests the group is poised to become the label’s breakout act when their debut LP drops this fall.
John River, BLVD
The hip-hop community was converging on Drake’s OVO Bounce basketball tournament ahead of OVO Fest when rising rapper Redway was tragically killed in a car crash on August 1. Fellow Mississauga MC John River paid his respects with this searing, emotional tribute song.
Petra Glynt, Murder
As the national party leaders gathered for the first debate of an 11-week election campaign, moody indie popper Glynt released this haunting takedown of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his negligence on environmental issues. “Call it what it is: murder,” she sings. “Choosing the economy over our real future.”
Serena Ryder, Together We Are One
Fireworks displays choreographed to Ryder’s invigorating Pan Am Games anthem capped off nightly Panamania performances at Nathan Phillips Square. We never need to hear this one again.
The Weeknd, Can’t Feel My Face
Shiny Swedish pop euphoria meets drug-addled misanthropy meets early 80s Michael Jackson in the Weeknd’s inescapable radio hit. A number-one hit in the U.S., Can’t Feel My Face is more addictive than all the other Weeknd songs about addiction.
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