“We’ve always played little brother in the world of hip-hop, you know what I mean?” asks Juno-nominated rapper/producerRich Kidd.
He’s sitting in a van, en route from Toronto to New York City, where he’s set to lay down some tracks with Pete Rock, a legendary hip-hop producer largely considered to be one of the best. As such, Rich, at just 26 years old, is contemplating his place in the history of the genre, not just as a musician, but as a Canadian.
“We’re not seen as the top guys until Drake really broke through in the mainstream,” he adds. “So I think what we’re really trying to prove is that we got bars. And that’s it.”
Below, you can watch Rich Kidd prove he’s got bars as he performs his song “Syke,” complete with a live band and Pete Rock at the control boards. It’s the continuation of our Rock the Mic series, with the first instalment being a live cover of Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” a standard bearer of golden age hip-hop.
At 19, Raz Fresco, another Toronto rapper/producer, wasn’t even born when Pete Rock and CL Smooth dropped their seminal album, Mecca and the Soul Brother, in 1992. But he knows his lineage, not to mention the significance of working with someone like Pete Rock.
“Hip-hop started in New York. You got prophets that came out of New York, the great prophets of hip-hop,” he says, not able to contain the excitement in his voice. “I’m a living, breathing reincarnation of all that.”
Below, Raz performs a smooth, sax-fuelled performance of his throwback track, “And it Don’t Stop.”