21 hip-hop producers and MCs from Mississauga and Brampton

by Mike Wolde

March 17, 2014






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For years now, the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Brampton have been successfully incubating a talented roster of hip-hop musicians. These change-makers have earned the attention of Canadian and American hip-hop circles for their distinct style and sound—though their hometowns don’t often get the recognition they deserve. Which is a shame, really.

Much of what comes out of this scene today is thanks to the pioneering work of Toronto legends like Maestro Fresh Wes and Mississauga super group The Western Union (Rich Kidd, Mason Payne, Izm, Junia-T, Killa Crook, Big Pops, Blaze, Arthur McArthur, Kemikal, Silverfox, Shawn Devious, Killa Beatz, Blackghost, Bodega, DJ Cypha, Intercepter, Klasic, Benni B, Strike, Philly Bluntz, Bad Nuz and Punchee). That, and we can’t forget the trailblazing work of Brampton’s producers, like the extraordinary Moss and the iconic, ever-elusive Mr. Attic (who was one third of the influential Da Grassroots production team).

The talent, like the sound, varies across the two boroughs.  To commemorate it all, we’ve compiled a collection of some our favorite bands.


Big Pops

Signed to Canadian super producer Arthur McArthur’s Ringleader production team and armed with an impressive list of credits—like Meek Mill and The Game—we’re looking forward to big things from this skilled Mississauga beatmaker. For an example of his work behind the boards, check an example of his work below.


Blake Carrington

This two-time winner of the renowned Apollo Theatre in New York’s showcase has toured extensively, showcasing his slick beats, big smile and charismatic style. Carrington has impressed many at prestigious festivals like SXSW—he performed in Austin last week—and NXNE, and even the legendary Talib Kweli is a supporter. Though his Souncloud page lists him as a L.A.-Toronto artist, his story began in Mississauga.




He found success as a Smash Brova, and now, this Mississaugan’s setting out on his own. Fans of the respected rapper/producer can expect more sharp rhymes over deadly instrumentals on his upcoming solo project.




This Fat Joe protégé made it onto MTV’s Artist to Watch list and XXL’s Freshman Class. Not bad for a 20 year-old from the Halton region. His 2013 EP, Canal and Richvale, was named after a Brampton intersection, though more accurately, it displayed D-Pryde’s intersection of pop and hip hop.


Devon Tracy

This talented 20-year-old—who, like many on this list, hails from Mississauga—has released several successful mixtapes and won the One to Watch award at the Canadian Urban Music Conference. Bonus: He’s also an acclaimed dancer.



JD Era

This prolific Mississauga-bred MC rose to fame by winning Mark Ecko’s Getting Up Festival’s Freestyle Competition, being featured on Nike’s Battlegrounds compilation and getting signed to Raekwon’s ICE H20 Canada record label. He’s earned plenty of high-profile praise—at NXNE in 2012, Ghostface Killah anointed him as the second coming, declaring that JD Era “had come from his dick”—but he’s not relying on nepotism: Era named his latest release No Handouts.


John River

Blessed with a positive attitude, heartfelt lyrics and an inspirational theme to his music, this 19-year-old gains fans everywhere he goes—which means that his music’s travelled far beyond his 905 home. Along with his music, River also is preparing The Journey, a documentary series exploring the rise of Canadian basketball.


J Shiltz

Jazzy beats, mature rhymes, and strong collaborations with respected MCs make the Mississauga-born J Shitlz a must for any golden era enthusiast. Check “Bars” below, which he released last December.


Junia T

Along with Crooklin, Junia T is the second member of Smash Brovaz to make this list. This respected rapper-producer continues to amaze us with his soulful beats and intelligent lyrics.



Ringleader Music’s Mikhail is another fantastic Mississauga producer signed to Arthur Mcgarthur.  The ambitious beatmaker has produced tracks for Kid Ink, Flo Rida, Freddie Gibbs, Vybze Kartel, 2 Chains, Wale, and collaborated on tracks for Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne.



Photo: Thecomeupshow.com

Brampton legend Moss is heralded for his gritty, sample-heavy sound and expansive record collection. His critically acclaimed work with Ottawa based MC Eternia earned them nominations for the Polaris, the Junos and helped him land a production deal with his mentor the mighty DJ Premier of Gang Starr. His work with beloved rappers like Ghostface Killah, Slum Village, Raekwon, Joe Budden, Sean Price, AZ, Joell Ortiz and Havoc has established him and inspires a new generation of young Canadian producers.



This former EDM producer’s ability to successfully blend RnB with electronica and hip-hop landed him a record deal with Drake’s OVO Sound label.  His eponymous debut mixtape on OVO did not disappoint.


Raz Fresco

This buzz-heavy, meticulously dressed 19-year-old has been busy releasing critically acclaimed mix-tapes like MCMXCV and the Chill Will collaboration The Popcorn Tape. Elsewhere, he’s produced beats for Tyga, Mac Miller, Wale and French Montana and founding a Canada/US collective called Bakers Club.



Originally from Mississauga and currently living in New York, this successful mixtape artist impresses with his strong production and proficient flow. Witness it for yourself on Border Livin, below.


Rich Kidd

Named by the Toronto Star as one of the city’s Top 5 Independent MCs, this Juno-nominated pioneer isn’t technically from Toronto—he’s from Mississauga. Last year’s Naturally Born Strangers came with the help of acclaimed Toronto rappers Tona and Adam Bomb—and we feel like his career’s ready to take off.




Veterans to the ‘Sauga scene, this respected production team is highly skilled and versatile. Now, the project’s based out of both Ontario and Atlanta, and the trio—made up of Deezy, Jama, and Paco—have sculpted a sound that’s a hybrid of gritty East Coast rap and Southern braggadocio. They’ve got numerous notches on their belt (including “I Don’t Wanna Be,” a track they completed with John River, who also made this list)—and they’re currently prepping an EP from Toronto’s Jayd Ink.


Smash Brovaz

The talented Junia T and Crooklin earned plenty of admirers thanks to their clever, soulful, jazzy style. Even the Toronto Star recognized SB in their “Top 5 Indie Emcees” feature—and we’re inclined to agree.


Syph & Keegan (Nu Money Gang)

Nu Money Gang’s aggressive flows, skillful wordplay and polished beats have helped them secure the Mississauga duo a spot in the overcrowded gangsta rap market.


The Flan

Thanks to his big personality, quirky rhymes and tight production, Brampton-based The Flan continues to grow his already strong following—and with tracks as strong as “Tryna Be,” below, it’s not hard to see why.


The Foreigners

Jazz and soul-infused beats, fun lyrics and smooth flows best describe Brampton’s The Foreigners. Their Searchers of the Zodiac EP helped establish their sound—with help from producers such as Jerome Cobain, Major, Lord Dawm, and J’Vell Boyce.


Tory Lanez

His polished sound, talent for hooks and work with Soulja Boy, Bun B, Sean Kingston and DJ Drama, have earned Lanez international recognition—take, for example, his well-earned spot on Complex’s 25 New Rappers to Watch For list. He dropped the Chixtape 2 mixtape two week ago—and it should establish the Brampton-based rapper as one of Ontario’s most promising names.



At 15, Wondagurl—a Boi-1Da protégé—won Canada’s Battle of the BeatMakers. At 16, she’s producing for French Montana, Travis Scott and has a Grammy nomination for her work on Jay-Z’s “Crown.” Impressive? You bet.


Tags: Music, News, d-pryde, devon tracy, JD-Era, john river, Junia T, rich kidd, Smash Brovaz






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