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Capital Essentials offers sample of Ottawa's best hip-hop

Shifter Magazine playlist includes A Tribe Called Red, Vi, Throne Seekers and more

You might not think of Ottawa as a hotbed of hip-hop music, but the team over at Shifter Magazine begs to differ. 

Shifter, based in Ottawa, has put together a playlist of hip-hop and R&B artists its writers think everyone should be paying more attention to. 

Shifter's editor in chief Kevin Bourne said there's burgeoning talent here in Ottawa that reminds him of the hip-hop scene in Toronto in the mid- to late 1990s. 

"There was so much talent," he told CBC Radio's All In A Day. "There was this network [of] people [who] were very supportive of each other, and I see that here in Ottawa. Even at Bluesfest, you see artists going to each others' shows, in the front row. I looked at that and I'm like, 'This is special.'"

Variety of artists

The playlist, called "Capital Essentials," includes some artists you've probably heard of, like A Tribe Called Red. It covers songs that span the hip-hop and R&B spectrum, with sub-genres including Indigenous, Christian and French hip hop.

That includes Throne Seekers, a Christian group Bourne said is creating quality music with a message.

"We wanted to have something that was totally inclusive of the kind of sub-genres of hip hop… we wanted to have a playlist that was completely reflective of what is happening in the city," Bourne said.

One artist on the list, Vi, could easily break out of the Ottawa music scene, Bourne said. 

"She really is a superstar. I saw her perform at Bourbon Room. She had this amazing presence on stage … like a seasoned performer, somebody who's going to be somebody."

The list also features artists who would appeal to any age, such as the duo Buck N' Nice.

"I think their music is timeless. They're not really following trends. They have like a classic sound," Bourne said. "They attract kind of the older crowd ... but they also attract the 20-year-olds. They kinda seem to be able to bridge the gap between generations."

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