Last month, Nathan Miller followed up his 'LDN' documentary with 'Northside,' a documentary highlighting the Hip Hop infrastructure in Toronto.
In the description, Miller claims that the city, 'Home to The Weeknd & Drake, has spawned a spotlight on the talent capable of coming from the 6ix.' After the success release of 'LDN,' which authentically captured and represented the meteoric rise of the UK's Grime scene through a range of interviews with the UK's best emerging artists, Miller applies a similar formula in his latest work.
The documentary highlights the mixed culture in Canada, slang often coming from nearby Caribbean islands blended with familiar Americansims and a music style which is so distinct to the region. The documentary puts attention on how many Canadian artists are still criminally underrated and highlights which artists from the country may be up as the next global superstars to fly the red and white flag.
With a specific focus on the underground, Miller manages to cleverly avoid putting too much attention on the big names like Drake and The Weeknd.
Through living myself in Ontario last year, it was expected that Drake would be dominant in the music scene - the man oozes Toronto. However, I was also introduced to artists like K Forest - who reflect Drake and the Weeknd's influence on young rappers. The city is also home to one Daniel Caesar - who performed live in London during Canada Day in July - an RnB artist who may remind you of the Weeknd. A relative in Brampton, just north of Toronto, mentioned that homegrown Hip Hop is expanding significantly.
But what of Miller's visually stunning documentary? He claims that underground talent is "kept in the shadows". Stars in their local community, the artists are still searching desperately for a breakthrough into the big time. Samo, a music journalist in the city, claims the music infrastructure "doesn't like us because we have an ego", saying that labels would rather sign a "country musician from British Columbia". Samo's verdict: "That's not Toronto (!)". You have the classic match-up of media tentativeness up against the desire to showcase real talent - and of course, the power is with the former.
Like West and East Coast artists, Toronto artists have a certain pride - a unique feeling about their city. It's clear that Toronto artists are frustrated - "the media is behind", claims artist Sean Leon.
It's almost like the Canadian Hip Hop establishment is years behind its American counterpart, who have had much success embracing the underground over the last decade or so. As such, it's been up to established artists to promote the raw, rather than being self-made.
Toronto brims with unharnessed talent - and artists who deserve so much more. Delve into Nathan Miller's NORTHSIDE below and discover a world of talented artists from the North: