Early last week, Black Lives Matter Toronto began a protest/occupation in front of police headquarters in Toronto in response to the lack of charges against the officer who shot Andrew Loku in July 2015. They intend to remain there until their demands are met. To help raise funds for the ongoing protest, they’ve released a mixtape composed of Toronto hip-hop and R&B artists, including choice cuts from some of our favourites in the city: Witch Prophet (of Above Top Secret) LAL, Lido Pimienta, and pHoenix Pagliacci (whose new record Ars Amatoria was our Album of the Week last week).
The compilation is available from Bandcamp, and all proceeds go to Black Lives Matter Toronto. We highly recommend it both musically and politically – and if you’re in Toronto, be sure to voice your opinions to public officials and Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and follow Black Lives Matter on Twitter to keep informed about how you can help.
We were only recently introduced to Rian Hamilton aka pHoenix Pagliacci through her verse on the incredible “INTL Women’s Day Cypher” she released a few weeks ago with Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis, and Haviah Mighty. (What an introduction!) But clearly, we’ve been missing out on one of Toronto‘s most original talents, and with her latest album Ars Amatoria, released back in February, she’s delivered one of the best records of the year.
Moving effortlessly back and forth from soulful R&B to spoken word poetry to dark electronic beats, it’s an eclectic, futuristic-but-timeless journey. And our conductor is quite the visionary, with Phoenix’s remarkable voice and incredibly catchy melodies rightfully center-stage throughout the record. Featuring several should-be smash hits like “B.A.F.” and “I Need You”, and punctuated by introspective poems recited over Art and Noise’s timeless “Moments in Love” beat, our favourite jam might be the ominous “Gossip Folk 2.0”, a stark, minimal electro-R&B track produced by LordQuest and Rich Kidd.
All told, Ars Amatoria is a virtuosic album that makes us think it’s only a matter of time before Phoenix Pagliacci hits superstardom. It’s available now from Bandcamp, PWYW.
Four Toronto rappers teamed up on an unbelievably excellent cypher today in celebration of International Women’s Day, with Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis, Haviah Mighty, and Phoenix Pagliacci all laying down some remarkable rhymes over a sinister electronic arpeggiated hip-hop beat courtesy of producer Little Sister. There’s far too many choice lyrics here for us to highlight any one MC, but needless to say we’ll be playing this one over and over all day.
“INTL Women’s Day” is available as a free download from Soundcloud.