A walkthrough of Barrie's Top Hip Hop
The history of Barrie's Hip hop is a long interesting one, a long fragmented scene full of cliques, beefs and emcees that associate with the Metropolis to the south. I have had a V.I.P. pass to the evolution of Barrie Hip hop. Many nights have been spent side stage, backstage and on the couches in the studios. Join me for a ride through the Barrie scene.
Emcees that you need to check out.
Shane L.S. Dennis
Dubbed the mayor of Barrie, L.S. has been a force to be reckoned with, a staple for Barrie Hip Hop. His street hustle and freestyling ability set him apart in the crowd early on, and after touring abroad would go on to create the Hip Hop epicenter Unity Market, most famous for its weekly Cypher.
All In Time
13 Track album that would bring some Barrie hip hop staples together; The Produce Sekshun, Bionik, Deckem Records, The Lab, and DJ Skitz. The album would feature Lurk Stalker as well as production from Landlokt Records Tyme One. Track favorites for me are "The Words of A Wordsmith," "Sun On A Monday Morn," " The Fire," and "Broken Worrior." I remember helping with the release party of this 2006 album, as well as dropping copies of this album off everywhere I went. So many I recall getting cut off from purchasing it.
In This Life
This lengthy 20 Track album would solidify L.S.'s place in Barrie Hip Hop. The album would include features from Lameck Williams, Bin Nyce, Lani Billard, iLLvibe and would continue the relationships with Deckem Records, The Lab Studios, The Produce Sekshun and would include early design from the well known Photographer/Designer Justin Main. I really enjoy this album and other than "True Skool" its hard to single out favorite tracks. A Classic Album.
I remember participating in this record release party as well, and my copies of this album given away throughout Western Canada and shipped Overseas.
Join The Hip Hope Revolution
A Mixtape that was used during L.S. and iLLvibes European Tour. Again the mixtape would bring together influential members of the hip hop community, The label screams of Bionik design, consists of a compilation of both artists tracks as well as design from Dan Brandon. The website was a great hip hop content and blog for the short time it lived as well as an interesting 18 part documentary.
I remember supporting Join The Hip Hop Revolution pretty heavy at the time, the website putting me on to various up and coming rappers including Macklemore in early 2009.
Legitimate has been a staple in my Hip Hop Collection since we met in the early 2000's. He has worked with various collectives and groups such as; The Net Prophets, Broken Records, School of Thought, Babylon Warchild, The Midnight Society, Empty Handed Warriors and most recently joint project with Rex Seshunz. The Babylon Warchild period was epic enough to solidify Legit at a major staple for Barrie Hip Hop, But Legit on his own is a force to be reckoned with, truly encompasing hip hop as an emcee, a writer and providing cuts.
Net Prophets - Northern Oracle EP
I wasn't lucky enough to get a copy of this EP, though I may have it on a password protected usb vault of Legit's music.
Net Prophets - Fog of War Mixtape
I would list the members of Net Prophets but I think its Legitimate, Primacy, Phantazmal and DJ Elite. This album solidified Legitmate early as not only a force to be reckoned with, a talented emcee and a staple as Barrie's most prolific Underground collective. I remember when they were working on this album, I even worked on some ideas for the album artwork, but it never worked out. The design and layout was completed by DJ Elite. I suggest that you check this album out if you can, I think I still have one or two of these in the wrapping. If you do check it out make sure you check out Legit's cuts on L.I.F.E.
The Broken English Street Tape
This album would be the first release from the Label, and would include: Legitmate, DJ Elite, Phantazmal, Primacy, Vanquish, AtLarge, Kognisean and Ecliptic, Liftid, Pablo and bring together local hip hop venues such as Solid Apparel, The Tunnel Clothing, Calvary with design from local Drum and Bass DJ/Designer Tim Mulvey. Legitimate would be featured on 6 of the 14 tracks and would produce 3 of those tracks. This one is pretty hard to find to listen to, but well worth the hunt. I still have a few copies of these in the vault somewhere.
Broken Records presents: Underworld Politics by School of Thought
The 2010 Album can be found on spotify and consists of 15 tracks and includes features from Unknown Mixery, Ecliptic, Wasun and Phantazmal, as well as many of the members of Broken Records. We will see a wider selection of production on this album including DJ Striker, DJ Jordi La Forty, Crucial the Guillatine as well as continued production from Legitimate. Return designer DJ/Designer Tim Mulvey for the artwork.
Only Built 4 Human Beings...
This 17 track album has some great features including some Babylon Warchild Alumni; KDB, The Ghost of Mizery and Fresco P. The album would also include Sleep Sinatra, Saipher Soze, Daniel Son, Lay Low and Theology 3. This is a solid joint will will go on to a classic must have album. For me my favorite track, for obvious reasons is "It Was Love."
I remember initally hearing and meeting Spenny at Unity Market's Cypher. Early on it was clear that Spenny was going to be trouble on the Mic. "Runnin" would be one of the early things that Spenny would release and would set the bar. "Hit And Run" is a 5 track project put out by Spenny x Simco Slim with cuts from DJ Jordi LaForty as well as a variety of social media snippets.
Hit And Run
This was a largely anticipated release and it delivers. The entire 2017 EP plays well and I would say "Flippadatongue" and "Nuff Time Wasted" the most popular of the 5 tracks.
Adam "Pro" Walsh
Member of "The First Kings" Adam Walsh has been a present force within the Barrie Hip Hop scene. Walsh is a perfect example of a Hip Hop Head, who fully emerged himself within the scene, supporting and working with almost everyone in the scene from L.S, Broken Records, The Produce Seskhun, Unity Market, The Beard Gang as well as Pleides. It was the Paint the Park event where his dedication to the craft was proven, in the heat of the summer on stage rapping through a wired jaw. Walsh would go on to release 2 albums and a series of singles, most available on Spotify/Youtube.
This 11 track album would feature tracks like "Hustle," "I'm The Man" and "Dirty" which would feature Urban Havoc. I had the pleasure to work for the graphics and layout of this album. Its available on Spotify to listen to and is a great addition to any collection.
This project between Adam Walsh and Age slipped by my radar for a while. The heavily featured album plays well and is a showcase of great talent. The album features Shark, ES, Oskep, L.E.O., Fraction, Pro Logic, Conscience, Last Measure, Notion and The Mighty Rhino. I always love a good Posse Cut and "Value" delivers. I enjoyed the album as a whole but tracks that stood out to me were; Too Old, Get Up, Sonic Boom and Shit Sakes. If you missed this album as well I suggest you go check it out.
Adam Walsh has dropped a handful of singles as well, below I have listed a few of my favorites.
I met iLLvibe in the early 2000's through mutual friends. It was then that I was put onto his earlist projects who for most will now, never experience the music prior to 2009. The growth and drive has been interesting to watch as iLLvibe has evolved through the scene from young hip hop head with the dream of creating a record, to hitting stages with major label artists, international tours, various Hip Hop businesses to running one of the most popular video companies. The evolution from Boombap, to mainstream to what now is self labelled as more of an R&B/Soul has been an interesting story, but it's better when he tells it. We will be skipping the very early stuff, but the Barrie heads will never forget Funk Jus and LOD.
iLLvibe is sick (2004)
This was illvibe's first solo release, and was and is still only available in limited hard copies. This album has aged pretty well, and plays as a solid first album. Its hard to discuss the tracks on here because the ones I enjoy the most are just titled Track 3, Track 6 and so on. The album will tie together a section of Barrie Hip hop, with Funk Justice and Absent Minded. If you can somehow magically track a copy of this, its worth the listen.
The Jacked Album (2008)
This album is exactly what you would assume it is, a mixtape with jacked beats. The album showcases iLLvibe's growth as he transitions from Funk Jus into LOD. The album features Absent Minded, Q Shinobi, and L.S. This album has aged well and some of the beats chosen for this have become classics. Favorite tracks for me would be "Run," "Choke Artists, "Northern Lights," and "SoulOut." This one may be just as hard to get your hands on as "iLLvibe is Sick", but if you can find it, its worth the listen.
Sex, Love & Hip Hop Soul
It was this album that would start to set iLLvibe apart from others, both with the evolution of his style, content but the delivery of the project as well. The project would bring together pretty many influential Barrie Hip Hop members such as Deckem Records, The Produce Sekshun, LOD Development, The Lab Studio and Bionk. The album would include production from Bionik Beat Banger, Tyme 1, Jordi La40, Realize and would feature Jordan Croucher, Lani Billard, Slakah the Beatchild, Lyric Giles and L.S. It would be the first time that I would see an independent artist release a Digital LP. Though it was a nightmare to play this album in my car stereo, it was clever and very interesting coming with a very detailed Digital Booklet as well as 2 Music Videos. The liner notes include a quote which I think has served him well over the years. "This is me. Take it or leave it. But while you decide, I'm going to enjoy the ride." This award nominated album is out there to hear, and is included on spotify.
In The Streets of iLLydelfya (2011)
Back from an International tour dubbed "The Hip Hop Revolution" with fellow Barrie emcee L.S., iLLvibe continues to grow with the Streets album. Its here were iLLvibes transition from underground emcee to more of a soulful artist begins to emerge. Its here where it becomes evident that iLLvibe is more than just a local rapper as he begins to include, be featured on and work with some of Ontario's, and Canada's top emcees. This album would include many of the usuals; L.S., Q, Tyme, Absent Minded, Lani Billard but would also include: Bun One, Redskin, Rayne Drop, JL Prophet, CJ, Kwote1, Exadus, RX Parx and D-Sisive. Favorites for me off this album would be "Saturday Morning," "Home," "Pounds & Dollars" and "How to Make It in Toronto."
Illvibe would go on to release a few more albums "Just Around the Corner" with Rayne Drop , "Blunts & Roses" with Absent Minded, "Cafe Jass" with UK Beat Theif, "Soulrunfree", "Robots With Sunglasses" with Jus Frais, and "To The Moon & Back" with JL Prophet. With the start of Heavy Aux and a distrobution deal iLLvibe would continue on to release 6 more albums. (Proof of Life, Firebreather, We Are Aliens, Antigravity, Love Among Theives and Hymns for the Underdog)
A Barrie vet from the days of "The First Kings' to the 705 crew and Naughty North. Revelation has had a career of stage performances and Battle Rap. With over 25 battles under his belt he has carved his place in Barrie's Hip Hop History.
Deckem Records artist turned Ruff Ryder, K.O now Drew James released a few projects during his time in Barrie.
13 track album put out on Deckem Records would consist almost entirely of K.O., Realize and DJ Skitz. Tracks to look out for would be "The Don," "All Out War," "In The City," and "Who U Wit."
Gimme The Throne
The beginning of the transition from K.O. to Drew James, this mixtape consists of 12 tracks including the tracks "Alter Ego, Meet HWY 400," "Back Against The Wall," and "No Drama"
Riding Clean Vol.1
A mixtape sponsored by local businesses like DTN, The Tunnel, The Writer's Bench, AMC Motorsports and The Lab Studios. The album contained various mainstream hip hop tracks with 4 tracks from K.O. himself.
Photo by Justin Main.
Barrie Emcee that really took off in the Unity Market Cyphers, repping Barrie heavy on tours and with S.O.T.I. Champ released an EP with production from Rayne Drop called The Definition EP.
The Definition EP
The 7 track EP is a must have and includes tracks like; Double Dragon, Hurt of a Lifetime, Focus as well as the Shoutro.
Other key Emcees to check out:
Barrie Emcee that released a handful of material with L.O.D. affiliated with Solid Apparel. One half of the group Gem Cuttaz.
Member of Northern Minded, Battle Rapper with over 20 battles under his belt. Definitely worth the check out in both of those avenues.
Savvy C, Urban Havoc, Epidemic, Q Shinobi, Stina Bomb, Freestyler, Guston, Please and Thanks, Johnny Ohm.
Groups and Collectives
The Produce Sekshun
DJ Jordi LaForty
DJ HeavyHands Flex Finghaz
DJ Hennessey X DJ GC X DJ Kash
Chuck, Smolik, Sage, Momar, SAD, Semas, Neisk, Cynic-l, Legit, Abyss, Drone, Genus, Fobia, Brat,
crews: MSC, PSC, NTS
Drop The Needle, The Tunnel Clothing, The Writer's Bench, Unity Market, The Foxx, Fitzys, Liquid Chrome. Surf Paradise,
The Tuesday Cypher, Paint the Park, Mixed Drinks, Urban Underground, Proving Grounds,
Drop Daniels, John Roe, DTN promotions, Rayzor
I forsure missed some people here that should have got a mention, Barrie hip hop has been a in depth group of people over the years that have included a variety of members passing through or there for schooling. Thank you,