Hip-hop hooray



People who say Winnipeg is boring probably aren’t interested in our thriving music scene. Manitoba Music has over 750 members that represent all facets of the music community including artists and bands, studios, agents, managers, songwriters, venues, promoters, and producers.

This list has many genres and subgenres, but like so many people who grew up listening to Tribe Called Quest, Lauryn Hill and Sade – there has been a lack of access to local music that truly hits my heart and soul in Manitoba.

There’s a big misconception that Winnipeg’s hip-hop, R&B, rap, soul and similar genre scene is small, lacking or non-existent, but that’s far from reality. It’s a scene that is about to emerge from basements and studios and give our folky, rock friends a challenge on stage.

I think our misconceptions come from commercial radio stations unable to maintain an urban station, and the switches from Streetz 104.7 and Rhythm FM to Country 104.7 FM.

But these switches shouldn’t be the indicator that our music community isn’t there. It may just be an indicator that Winnipeg doesn’t want the mainstream hip-hop, rap or R&B, and that authenticity trumps popularity.

For three years beginning in 2012, The College Draft, hosted by Roger Kimbeni, was a one-hour show on 101.5 UMFM, the University of Manitoba’s radio station, dedicated to new and local hip- hop.

Travelling Without Boarders is a current show hosted by producer F.C Coconut whose music ranges from jazz, world, hip-hop, and collaborates live with a range of performers, artists and producers who share the same vibes.

The University of Winnipeg’s radio station, CKUW, has an assortment of shows that pay homage to local musicians and artists.

But the airwaves are only part of Winnipeg’s hip-hop comeback.

The TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival has started to bring a range of talented locals on stage at The Cube or as openers for big international musicians.

Musicians like SMRTDEATH, another part of a rap community with dark “goth feels” has been featured on PAPER Magazine. Chill but upbeat trio 3PEAT has already played at many Winnipeg music festivals.

The Lytics have gained national fame, and landed a spot in the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, a development program for artists.

The next step is to bring back a high-impact urban music festival, similar to Peg City Holla, with headlining local artists who feature hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul and every subgenre with the same vibes.


Joy Balmana is a Public Relations major in Creative Communications.

Her free time is spent wandering around Winnipeg’s downtown galleries,

other cites across the world, or her kitchen figuring out what to cook next. 

See the world her way on Instagram at @byoj or hear what all that muttering is on Twitter @_byoj.

hear what all that muttering is on Twitter @_byoj.