Queens, New York-based rapper Aaron Cohen has been steadily building up his Canadian fan-base since first making his debut out of his hometown of Seattle several years ago.
Since moving to NYC, Cohen has worked closely with Decon/Mass Appeal Records and Mishka Records, and toured extensively across North America, Europe and Asia.
His most recent release is the Jarren Benton-assisted “Shapeshift” (produced by Brakebill) single released back in May in support of his forthcoming project, Raw Every Day.
This Wednesday, Cohen will kickoff his own headlining tour with support from Benton, Chris Webby, DJ OfficeMax (on selected American dates). But you can catch him in Canada on four separate dates, including making his second appearance in Ottawa on Thursday, July 25 (inside Kinki Lounge & Kitchen).
Music will be provided by DJ Alive from NuBRLRadio with opening performances by Ottawa’s own Cape, Apollo Rae, and more.
Tickets to the Raw Every Day Tour in Ottawa are $20 and available on Eventbrite. You can also cop them in Ottawa retail stores including NRML and Vertigo Records. The show is brought to you by the good people at CapCityHipHop. You can find the flyer below.
Peep the interview with Aaron Cohen from last year in Ottawa on the NuBRLRadio show with DJ Alive and Lil Thrilla.
NuBRLRadio: Aaron Cohen Live Interview with Lil' Thrilla & DJ Alive (11/02/18) - YouTube
A$AP Rocky is still locked up in Sweden, and several high profile people are speaking out for his release.
Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, is accused of assaulting a man in Stockholm, Sweden on June 30. He was detained on July 5 along with two other men from his entourage while prosecutors began an investigation into the charges. Rocky’s bodyguard was also investigated but they didn’t hold him. TMZ published footage of the fight that led to Rocky’s arrest. It’s unclear if the case would have been pursued without the TMZ clip going viral.
Rocky faces six years in prison if he’s charged and convicted of assaulting a man who assaulted him first.
A$AP Rocky Now in Custody Arrest in Sweden | TMZ Live - YouTube
On Friday, it was reported that authorities in Stockholm approved a request from prosecutors to hold Rocky in detention for at least six more days, claiming they believed the rapper was a flight risk. Sweden does not have a system of bail. Another hearing is scheduled for July 25 to decide if they’ll hold him any longer.
In light of the way Rocky’s situation has been unfolding, several well-known artists and politicians have voiced their support for the Harlem rapper including Diddy, Tyler the Creator, Justin Bieber, and Kanye West. Even President Donald Trump is stepping up to help Flacko (through Kanye and Kim Kardashian’s influence). Here’s his tweet from Friday:
“Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!”
In another tweet, Trump addressed the flight risk concern: “Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Lofven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative…”
Kim Kardashian & President Trump discuss prison reform in June 2019
It’s interesting to see how the President got involved. The New York Times had an anonymous source offer some insight in how it unfolded: “Kanye West, the rapper, asked his wife Kim Kardashian to call President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to see if something could be done, according to a person familiar with the communications who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to discuss them.”
And then: “Mr. Trump directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to work with Swedish authorities to make sure Rocky’s conditions of detention were fair and that the State Department received regular updates.”
Trump and first lady Melania Trump addressed the situation to an audience in The Oval Office:
Fight to Release ASAP Rocky From Swedish Prison - YouTube
Yesterday, Oakland rapper G-Eazy weighed in on the situation: “This is the sad truth.. The difference between me and Rocky’s treatment in Sweden brings to mind two concepts that disgustingly go hand in hand: white privilege and systemic racism. Let’s call it what it is. He should not be behind bars right now. My heart goes out to [A$AP Rocky].”
If you recall, back in May 2018 G-Eazy was arrested in Stockholm after punching a security guard and snorting coke. According to TMZ: “There was no video of the attack, yet prosecutors allowed him to strike a deal a day-and-a-half later … he pled guilty to violent resistance, a crime of violence against an official and illegal drug possession. His sentence — a $10k fine and probation. He was also ordered to pay the security guard $900.”
He spent a total of two days behind bars. As mentioned earlier, Rocky is facing six years.
A$AP Rocky’s team has started a change.org petition demanding his immediate release. The petition has been signed over 620K times. The change.org petition also offers more perspective from Rocky’s side of the situation:
“On Tuesday, July 2nd, Rocky volunteered to go to police headquarters after his performance for questioning about this incident. Rocky and his colleagues were arrested on-site.
We are surprised that something like this could happen in Sweden to people who were minding their business and forced to defend themselves from a group of assailants. This should be about justice. Rocky has been in prison for six days for the use of self defense.
Upon being detained, Rocky was denied his request to counsel which is in violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Sweden is a signatory.
Everyone has the same rights to be treated fairly upon detainment and should be given fair and equal access to such rights. Since, he has been allowed to visit with a U.S. Embassy Consult and attorney, but only in the presence of Swedish officials. It is extremely troubling and worrisome that the laws are not being applied equally in these circumstances.
On Monday, July 8th, we filed an appeal with the Swedish Supreme Court to have Rocky released from the inhumane conditions and the clear violation of human rights. They rejected the filing, which means Rocky will remain in prison for two weeks. The conditions of the facility are horrific. Some of the inhumane conditions Rocky and his colleagues are facing at the Stockholm Detention Center include 24/7 solitary confinement, restriction of amenities for the most basic of human functions, access to palatable and life sustaining food as well as unsanitary conditions.
The prosecutor on the case has further communicated that he is working to receive an additional two-week extension for a trial to begin in mid – to end of August. To keep Rocky and his colleagues in jail pending the lengthy trial proceedings is a punishment before the fact, with no due process.”
Swedish authorities have denied the claim that conditions were inhumane, and this was surprisingly supported by Rocky’s own legal defender, Henrik Olsson Lilja, who claimed the rapper was being treated fairly. What came as no surprise was Rocky changing his legal representation shortly thereafter.
Our Song of the Day is the latest visual offering from East Coast Canadian rap star, Classified.
“Super Nova Scotian” is a standout off Class’ fifth major release and sixteenth overall album, Tomorrow Could Be the Day Things Change. The project was released in Oct. 2018 and peaked at No. 74 on Billboard’s Canadian Albums Chart.
Scene from the “Super Nova Scotian” video
The single features an all-star group of musicians and artists from the Halifax region, who connected in Classified’s home studio in Enfield, Nova Scotia. They include Pat Stay, Skratch Bastid, JRDN, and Quake Matthews.
The song takes the Scotian representation even further by also featuring a couple of Trailer Park Boys: Bubbles (aka Mike Smith) along with rapper Knucklehead (aka Tyrone Parsons) who plays J-Roc’s manager T on the series. Longtime Classified fans might also remember Knucklehead working with Class in the late 90’s during the Ground Squad days.
Scene from the “Super Nova Scotian” video
“Super Nova Scotian” was directed by Class’ young brother Mike Boyd and recently surpassed 200K views on YouTube.
You can find “Super Nova Scotian” and the Tomorrow Could Be the Day Things Change album on Apple Music, Spotify, and various other digital streaming outlets.
“Super Nova Scotian” was recently added to HipHopCanada’s Spotify playlist, Canadian Fresh.
Classified - Super Nova Scotian (Official Video) - YouTube
With countless acclaimed guest appearances to his name, JuneLyfe has been steadily building his musical resume over the years while also running with the crews Cool Collective Reps, Retrospek and the Winners. And now the Roxbury, MA native steps out on his own with his long awaited debut solo LP, Lyfe or Def.
As the man says himself, this is quite literally his life in the form of a raw, gritty hip-hop album full of sharp lyricism, hard-hitting production, and impressive musicality.
Those qualities can be tied back to his stomping grounds of Roxbury, where influential artists ranging from New Edition to Edo G. called home. And their influence on June’s music is firmly cemented as he carries the torch proudly for his neighborhood.
“My environment in Roxbury—my childhood and so forth—has developed into a certain passion and attitude that I will always carry with me everywhere I go,” he explains.
His passion comes through when he’s gritting his teeth on the menacing “Doin’ The Most” with Planet Asia and Daniel Son, and when he’s showing his funkier side on “What It Look Like.” And then there’s the life-contemplating lead single “Rotation” with SPNDA, REKS, and Dua (of Bad Rabbids). The musicality of Lyfe or Def also bleeds through on the instrumental interludes that provide a strong sense of cohesion.
Everything about Lyfe or Def comes together on the album itself but also in the way that June talks about it. He’s frank in discussing the difficulties he overcame to figure out how he would represent himself as a solo artist, and he put in the work to define who he is as a person. “I had to live more, read more, be more empathetic, have more integrity, be a little more vulnerable,” he says.
“All these things have helped in the manifestation of the growth presented on the record.”
To coincide with the release, June shared a new video for the standout track “Hide N Seek (Shango Mask),” a gritty burner produced by Crypto.
JuneLyfe "Hide N Seek (Shango Mask)" -OFFICIAL VIDEO - YouTube
Director Trill Is Bliss complements the borderline-chilling vibe perfectly with VHS-stylized visuals that, in 2019, prove that certain styles are simply timeless—like Lyfe or Def itself.
While continuing to promote his popular Compact Burna project, Burna Bandz let off some new visuals for a separate single known as “At the Pot.” This one could be featured on Burna’s North Boy project expected to drop soon.
The Orazio-directed video for “At the Pot” was released on July 9 by UTM and he’s amassed close to 200K views since.
Burna Bandz in the “At the Pot” video
The latest release follows the visual for the JKudo-produced “Prime” powered by Sonny Visual.
“At the Pot” has yet to hit major streaming platforms but you can find Compact Burna on Apple Music, Spotify, and other digital streaming outlets.
As a part of the East London based rap collective Mashtown, with fellow rappers Asco and Margs, Hypo has been in the scene for over ten years, experimenting with sounds and telling his story.
Hypo in the “Flex On My X” video
Born in London and partly brought up in Jamaica, Hypo has gathered influences from all over the world and from all different genres. After three mixtapes together with Mashtown, Hypo is now back with new music as a solo act.
Following his most recent track “First Night” (featuring Yxng Bane and Asco), Hypo is now back with the uptempo club banger “Flex On My X.”
“Isn’t it comedic how every time we end a relationship, we start something new; getting a new haircut, start going to the gym, going on a holiday or getting new jewellery. That’s what ‘Flex On My X’ is about,” says Hypo, and continues:
“It’s about flexing on your ex, but at the same time… wanting that person back.”
Apple Music has announced the launch of Rap Life, a new global playlist spotlighting the most exciting new hip-hop, hand-picked by Apple Music’s editorial curators and overseen by Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of hip-hop and R&B. Updated daily and moving at the speed of the culture, Rap Life celebrates the best new Hip-Hop and the artists who make it.
“Apple Music has worked to uplift hip-hop and has earned the respect of the artists and the fans worldwide, so now we going to keep pushing the culture forward with Rap Life.” – Ebro Darden
Rap isn’t just a genre. There’s a reason it’s sometimes simply called The Culture: It’s a way of life. And this playlist-formerly known as The A-List: Hip-Hop-is where rap lives, breathes, and moves. Topped today by J. Cole and the Dreamville crew’s “Under the Sun,” off their Revenge of the Dreamers III album, Rap Life is home to hip-hop’s heavy hitters and vanguard-the stars and the songs that speak to the moment and define the culture today.
Check back early and often, as Apple Music editors update this playlist regularly. If you hear something you like, add it to your library.
Apple Music Global Editorial Head of hip-hop and R&B Ebro Darden says: “Apple Music has worked to uplift hip-hop and has earned the respect of the artists and the fans worldwide, so now we going to keep pushing the culture forward with Rap Life. The playlist was A-List hip-hop, but we flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle… pay attention!”
The signature playlist art for Rap Life will feature a different artist each week, timed to new releases from marquee artists. Rap Life launches today with inaugural cover star J. Cole and and will feature a different rapper from the Dreamville family throughout the week.
Additionally, Apple Music’s 24/7 global livestream Beats 1 will soon launch a Rap Life show centered around the playlist featuring music and important discussions around hip-hop.
Click here to access the Rap Life playlist on Apple Music.
Yesterday Tongue Helmet released their studio album debut, Psychotropic Ape, via Toronto-based record label and distributor, URBNET.
Tongue Helmet initially started as a collaboration between longtime friends, Timbuktu (Swamp Thing) and Danny Miles (July Talk), and was eventually rounded out by Coins / Peter Project and DJiRATE.
“A long-simmering creative dream for over a decade, this project combines the talents and experience of veteran musicians from seemingly distinct genres, bringing together surprisingly compatible sounds.”
Psychotropic Ape was co-produced by Timbuktu and Danny Miles, and is a collaborative work in its purest inspirational form. The featureless project is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and various other digital streaming outlets.
The project offers a unique and updated take on classic psychedelic hip-hop. Fans of Deltron 3030, Beastie Boys or Beck (Odelay era), will find themselves vibing to Tongue Helmet.
Just over a month ago, the British Columbia hip-hop community suffered a terrible loss due to the untimely passing of Jesse “Don Castro” Ollivierre.
“Castro was more than my blooda… He was a mentor and showed me a lot about the music. The way he could structure a song was like nothing I’ve ever seen.” – Namilla
The Vancouver-born, Surrey-bred lyricist co-founded the Canadian faction of Stendo Gang alongside Namilla and Dru Gray. Don Castro has been a staple in the B.C. Underground scene for well over a decade. He was a larger than life figure that who spoke on what he lived unapologetically. If I had to describe his music in three words it’d be quality street rap.
Here’s a quote from Castro’s right hand man and labelmate Namilla about Castro’s passing:
“Castro was more than my blooda… He was a mentor and showed me a lot about the music. The way he could structure a song was like nothing I’ve ever seen. He was so in tune with every little sound. If anything it inspired me to pay attention to the most minute details when recording and everything would HAVE to be on point. Don was a perfectionist so if he didn’t 1000 percent like what he heard, he’d say ‘Namilla… Pull it back and put more heart into it.’ One thing I can say is he will live on through me, Stendo Gang and through music. R.I.P. Don Castro.” – Namilla
In honour of Don Castro, our Song of the Day is “My Patna” by Namilla of Stendo Gang. You can also find Don Castro’s Kreacha-assisted “Feel It In The Air” video directed by Toronto’s JB of GCP.