Local MC and producer shows off new West Coast influences.
The release of producer and MC Rich Kidd’s annual-ish We On Some Rich Kidd Shiiiiiit mixtape is a cause for celebration in Toronto’s hip-hop community. Not only is every edition chock full of top quality verses from local MCs and beats from Kidd—who is one of the best producers in this country, and may be one of the best producers in hip hop, period—it also gives us a chance to check in on his evolution as an artist.
On the sixth and most recent release in the series, City on My Back, Kidd brings a little bit of southern California to southern Ontario. He has taken a couple trips to Los Angeles over the past year, and it shows in both his sound and his choice of guests.
City on My Back still features a ton of local luminaries (including D-Sisive, JD Era, and The Antiheroes), but it also has a fair number of appearances from California-based underground MCs. Former Aftermath signee Bishop Lamont drops an aggressive verse on “Black Kings,” and blog favourite Thurz manages to create dense, wordy bars while making it seem effortless on “Keep the Faith” (which you can listen to by clicking the sample above). Many of Kidd’s beats on City also have a distinctly Californian feel, slow and laid-back with melodic samples, tinkling keys, and big, soulful choruses.
That said, City isn’t all mellow vibes. Kidd is a diverse producer, and is able to pull off everything from high-energy party jams like “The Rebels” to gritty, East Coast-style battle rap beats on songs like “NevR Left.” As an MC, Kidd isn’t the most technical, wordplay-heavy rapper, but he makes up for it with a great rapping voice, a skill for storytelling, and a likeable, charismatic personality.
Unfortunately for us, most Torontonian artists can only get so big before they have to decamp for the U.S. or Europe. It looks as if Kidd’s time to fly the nest on a semi-permanent basis may almost be upon us, but City on My Back is proof that no matter where he winds up, he will always do us proud.