Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer, Kaytranada, is becoming more of a household name (just check out his Wikipedia page, and the number of remixes and collaborations he’s participated in over the last several years). Wasiu’s “Artbeat Cypher” begins with an interview with Kaytranada at the Red Bull Music Academy, where he talks a little about ArtBeat and the beginning of the Piu Piu beat movement in Montreal, of which Wasiu, Lou Phelps (Kaytranada’s brother), and KNLO are all underground hip-hop and/or beat-making heroes. If you don’t know about ArtBeat, which is a Canadian society that comes together to show off the nation’s greatest and up-and-coming best beatmakers, check out this awesome historical article from Vice.
This bass-heavy track is filled with other Canadian artists who might be lesser known, but offer just as much punch, as they cut with lyrics promoting the understated hip-hop scene in Montreal, and show just how much people in States are missing. As Wasiu explained recently:
“This song is a tribute to everyone who was a part of Montreal’s pivotal PIU PIU movement. It’s me, Lou Phelps and Montreal Legend producer/rapper KenLo in the crowd at an ArtBeat show spitting in a cypher over one of Shash’U’s cuts. For those who don’t know, KenLo and Shash’U are two OG’s who influenced many local Montreal producers. Kaytra did a special on BBC Radio for Benji B explaining how they both inspired him. Obviously, Lou Phelps and I are part of the new generation of this Montreal rap stuff, so it’s like a dope mix of OG’s and youngins on this track. All in all, it’s a tribute to the movement that started at ArtBeat, with producers and rappers showing off and creating buzz for themselves and the city.”
Check out more about the PIU PIU beat-rap Montreal scene and ArtBeat via these Vimeo documentaries.