Last year, I was on a road trip to Atlanta with a carload of young Toronto cats, all in our 20s, ready to make something happen beyond the border. There was the journalist, the publicist, the soccer player, the rapper and the pilot stuffed into a car, heading to a hip-hop show that we’d been invited to, put on by a southern radio station.

We were young, successful in our fields and hungry for a new experience, but evidently naïve, as our ‘turn up’ attitudes were halted once we were stopped at the Detroit border (Yeah, I know, should have gone the Buffalo route) for questioning.

“So let me get this straight… You are driving thousands of miles for a rap show?” the border feds questioned. Repeatedly. Obviously doubting our story, or thinking we were insane, or both.

“Yes. Yes we are.”

Why was a road trip for rap so hard for these robocops to understand, I pondered, even after eventually crossing the border and driving through the mountains in Tennessee, heading towards ATL.

What’s so hard to believe about a bunch of young adults making moves? Why does mainstream bullsh*t set us up to settle for less than everything we want out of life? But then I realized, while society is viewing us as young, irresponsible dreamers, not many people share our Toronto hip-hop state of mind, a rare mind state (mental illness) that has us grinding for what we want out of life.

Welcome to Toronto – the city of dreams, where if you’ve slept the night before, you haven’t grinded hard enough, where every crew consists of at least one rapper, producer, photographer and blogger.

Welcome to Toronto – the city of dreams, where if you’ve slept the night before, you haven’t grinded hard enough, where every crew consists of at least one rapper, producer, photographer and blogger. Where our hip-hop community is one big dysfunctional family, artists have side hustles to pay their rent, producers sleep on rappers’ couches in exchange for free beats and our competitive nature creates a permanent screwface, but it is our passion for the game that drives us. Most importantly though, welcome to T. Dot, where we chase our dreams and actually reach them. We are hungry and we won’t settle; not even the Detroit border can stop us.

The city is our stage, our studio, our runway and our canvas. We are the land of the grinders, with a hip-hop community woven together to use our talents to build our music market hoping that one day we’ll all be eating off of it. We all have dreams bigger than the city, but it is this city that we love, flaws and all, that makes us who we are as young music professionals.

We have our own music, our own values, our own rules, our own slang and our own etiquette. Some of which are effective in helping us grow as artists, but some of which need to be questioned in order to take this culture to the level it is capable of being.

All of which will be covered here – The beat of the city, the flow of the ones in it and the content we create.

Welcome to Samantics.

Photo By. Janelle Scott-Johnson