The newest podcast making waves in Toronto is Turono Talks. The crew have experience in the Toronto music scene that dates back decades and give their viewpoints on issues and topics people are speaking about on social media.
During a conversation about the history of Atlanta’s music scene the topic came up about its godfathers such as Dallas Austin, Rico Wade, and of course Jermaine Dupri. Naturally it led to Toronto and the scene’s foundations. The iconic Toronto Raptor Vince Carter was given credit for helping the Toronto party scene, but the people who were before the Vinsanity days were also mentioned.
Kardinal Offishall and his contributions to the city and producers who gave the city it’s original sound such as DRK, Tone Mason, and more. Recently, Tory Lanez proclaimed victory over Joyner Lucas in a rap battle and told all American rappers to take notice when trying to battle a hip hop artist from Toronto. America probably doesn’t realize the history of the 6ix with its own battles. Drake has been known for his mainstream battles against the likes of Meek Mill, but there was a time he was embroiled in a conflict with Kardinal Offishall. Drizzy explains it in an old interview from Juice All Star Edition DVD.
As pointed out above, the beef with Drake and Kardinal stemmed from a single that created controversy due to Kardi getting at the now disgraced Toronto rapper Mayhem Morearty. During this time period in hip hop in what would be known as the 6ix, the TDot scene was divided with the new wave of Toronto “Street Rappers”(coined by The Smugglaz) and artists on the verge of breaking out on the mainstream in the country. Any Torontonian that knows their history would remember the beefs clearly, but it also illustrated a problem that just in recent times have mellowed out which was the era of the “Screwface” (where Toronto did not show love to its own *a deeper topic that yours truly Venom may write an article about down the line). Anyhow, listen as Turono Talks describes the time period.
“If I wasn’t the King of New York, y’all wouldn’t pay me no mind. If I wasn’t the King of New York, y’all would be like ‘Just let that fu–ing clown talk, that n—-‘s irrelevant.'”Tekashi 6ix9ine
In the world of hip hop, there is an obsession with proclaiming one as a king of a region. In New York’s early stages of development there were rap kings that even included a queen such as Roxanne Shante. She describes below what it meant to be heralded with the crown that represented the birthplace of hip hop. It seems the title was much more earned in her day than how it is used as a marketing ploy today with the likes of Tekashi 6ix9ine who self proclaimed himself the King Of New York and once upon a time if you were King Of New York you would be the “King Of Rap”.
It seems misogyny played a huge part in the early days and perhaps the female artists who contributed to the artform haven’t got their just due. If there was ever a Roxanne Shante equivalent in Canada, you would have to look no further than Michie Mee.
Does she get enough credit for helping to put Canadian rappers on the map? Turono Talks asks the question whether or not Michie Mee is the “god mc” of Canada or at the very least King Of The Dot?
The question now becomes what is the criteria to be called the “god or king” of your city? Is it record sales? Is it the ability to rap circles around any challengers? Is it being an entity that impacts your kingdom that you create followers? So many questions. In my other article “Who Would Be Your #1 Pick in an Old School Hip Hop Draft”? I think some of the questions posed were answered.
The discussion would seem the King Of The Dot (shout out to the battle league, but this is strictly about who owns Toronto from Toronto) to an outsider of Toronto to be easily Drake, but as seen above the question gets tricky if we start to add aspects of different generations. Also, does there need to be only one “King Of Kings”?
Now this is where Venom comes in and tries to add to the conversation these gentlemen have started. It seems only right to say that being the god is obviously higher than being the king. Jay Z and Kanye West had the song “No Church In The Wild” and asked the question what’s a mob to a king and what’s a king to a god?
We must look at the history of hip hop to see who was considered a King Of New York and what elements they contained in which we can allude to a Toronto artist for the mantle. I could hear it now somewhere in LA and somewhere down south someone being upset that the King Of New York is being used as the measuring stick. The truth of the matter is New York is indeed the mecca and it is also the origin of where kingship came from for hip hop. Toronto was also known in hip hop circles during the 90’s for being “Little New York”. Toronto’s relation to New York is well documented in the 80’s as well as the aforementioned Michie Mee use to defend Toronto in rap battles at the iconic concert hall from New York challengers such as Sugar Love. It also should be noted that Kendrick Lamar in recent years stirred up a whole can of worms when he proclaimed to be the “King Of New York” in a line on a song, so the title does still have merit even until this day.
So now that we understand why I would use the King Of New York standards let’s get to the list of men who were considered to wear that crown over the years. I think it’s safe to say that the last undisputed “King Of New York” in general was The Notorious B.I.G. who received the accolade for coming up battle rapping and eventually bringing back shine to New York after the West Coast had taken over radio and billboard charts in the early 90’s. It was also clear that the legendary Tupac Shakur saw him as The King Of New York as that partly created the beef when the Bay Area rapper (although Tupac started out as a NY rapper named MC New York before leaving the city as a kid) accused Christopher Wallace of not using his kingship to help him in a street beef. We know what occurred after as it became evident that Tupac was King of West Coast and Biggie Smalls took the reigns for the East Coast in that media driven rivalry that has affected the history of hip hop all the way up until this present day.
Nas ironically was also given a highly respectable title in the 90’s when he debuted. Now this goes into the question about god vs king as Nas was heralded as the Messiah and second coming of Rakim Allah the god mc.
When I was 12 I went to hell for snuffing Jesus. I’m waving automatic guns at nuns,Nas
It is quite ironic that Nas was being called the 2nd coming when he originally made noise for his sacrilegious verse above. The NY rapper’s original album cover was going to have him holding Jesus in a headlock, but we all know the classic album Illmatic eventually went with the iconic picture of a young Nasir Jones. He also received the coveted five mics from the New York based magazine that hip hop revered, but interesting that he wasn’t called King Of Rap on their covers as Biggie Smalls was. He was referred to as a Messiah figure however. So did Drake prophesy himself proving to be the Messiah for Toronto hip hop as the 6ix god? Who could forget his prediction about selling like “Mike Jack” on the song “Over”?
Another rapper that was called King Of New York and even some say he still has the mantle is Jay Z. His battle rap with Nas is of hip hop royalty as the self proclaimed Hova aka J Hova is a play on the name Jehovah. We know Drake once took subliminal shots at Jay Z. So was that the 6ix god against the Big Apple god?
Then in the 00’s some may assume the title of King went to 50 Cent as he went up against a lot of New York rappers at the time and is credited by the likes of Hot 97 personality Ebro as hurting the scene to the point that down south took over and never looked back.
Now we are still left with the question of whether or not Drake is the King Of The Dot or the god MC of the city of Toronto. Are we also suppose to separate the generations as some long time fans of Toronto hip hop would think so because of guys like Maestro Fresh Wes, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Choclair, Sunshine SoundCrew were all long before Drake’s reign. People who helped push the culture forward.
What about the new era of hip hop in the city? Do they care about having the title? Should they even be considered for the title such as Tory Lanez who represents the city, but technically is from a region just a bit out of the district? Similar to how all time greats such as Heavy D who live just outside the region of New York technically, but are considered New York icons.
The Hott TV episode above we see Brizzle and Price Da Boss speak on the regional issue that separates the city. We also see a challenge being made between Brizzle and Dre Barrs concerning who is the King Of The Dot.
Should the new era make their own rules for what constitutes being the King Of Toronto Rap? We could only ask in a poll and let democracy reign as you choose your King Of Dot!!
This has been another Venom article!!!!!!! Since I believe the top 3 contenders are undoubtedly Michie Mee, Maestro Fresh Wes, and Drake for King Of Kings I leave you with the three songs and videos I feel they represented their city best with below.
The greatness shows in the humility of the bona fide legends of the city of Toronto. As they have responded to question and have answered like the OG rappers they are!