JayWood’s Guide To Canadian Hip-Hop

The Winnipeg artist salutes his peers...

JayWood was raised on the Canadian prairies, a place dominated by close communities and enormous natural beauty.

Yet right from Day One he knew he wanted to walk his own path. Infatuated by hip-hop culture and rap music more generally, JayWood – real name Jeremy Haywood-Smith – began applying them to his own life, re-tooling them as appropriate.

Since then, music has played a pivotal part in his own self-development. The loss of his mother in 2019 hit him hard, forcing a period of introspection, one amplified by the emptiness of the pandemic.

New album ‘Slingshot’ tracks this period, with the radical songwriting touching on the personal and the political. Out on July 15th, it contains the touch of a playwright, with its complex plot and multitude of characters interwoven around personal insight.

As he puts it: “The idea of looking back to go forward became a really big thing for me – hence the title, ‘Slingshot’…”

Part of a network of DIY hip-hop communities operating across Canada, JayWood is held in high respect by his peers. Here, he offers a few pointers on Canada’s deep-rooted hip-hop scene.

Backxwash

Backxwash is so freakin good it is insane.

I recently saw her perform at Sled Island in Calgary and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while. Her music has so much energy and emotion coming from it, it really pulls you into the experience. ‘I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES’ was one of the sickest albums I heard back in 2021 and it genuinely scared me at some points.

Everything about Backxwash is just dope af!

Mooki 

I gotta give a shoutout to Mooki, he put out one of my favourite rap projects last year with ‘BLACKSHEEP: eight trials’.

The beats are amazing here and Mooki’s flows are just so sick. The boy glides on top of these songs with so much confidence. It’s a cool experience especially when some of the stories he tells are so close to home. Stoked for the lil bro.

Anthony OKS

Anthony is one of the hardest working, kindest and talented I know and he just so happens to be really amazing at music. He put out a really great album last year called ‘In The Garden’ and it really shows how passionate and precise he is with his message.

I’m so stoked to see what he does next and I highly recommend checking out a live performance whenever you get the chance 

Mauvey

Oh man, Mauvey has one of the energetic , passionate and inspiring live performances I’ve ever seen!

The man has his hand in so many different sounds that every song he’s released feels like he could pivot his whole career at any point. His 2021 release ‘The Florist’ has hit after hit and I have no doubt the new project he puts out will be the same. The singles he’s put out this year have been fire

Cadence Weapon

Cadence Weapon’s album ‘Parallel World’ feels so intentional it’s wild. Every song on that album is just jam packed with such mindful lyrics without ever coming close to being preachy.

The beats hit so hard it gets me so stoked to see him perform live one day soon. This album is amazing and well deserving of the 2021 Polaris prize winner.

It’s artist like Cadence and everyone else I mentioned that make me stoked to see the Canadian come-up. 

JayWood’s new album ‘Slingshot’ is out on July 15th.

Photo Credit: Tonje Thilesen

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