With a diverse line up, 199Z Fest is bringing an array of sounds to Adelaide Hall on Wednesday, August 16. As we approach summer's end, this annual showcase produced by the 199Z Cypher is a great primer for a new season of music in Toronto. Our city's scene has been on fire lately, so why not keep it blazing by highlighting new talent making moves?
Headlined by Brampton's Derin Falana, and Markham's Mickey Blue, 199Z stretches far and wide to bring different neighbourhoods together on this bill. Downtown, uptown, east side, or west, there's no disparity in sound when it comes to the artist's roots. Marlon Palmer (aka @ThatDudeMcFly) will keep the good vibes flowing as he hosts the show.
As we look forward to the festival, get to know some of the artists on the lineup through our preview, and purchase tickets here.
What’s age got to do with it? Clearly it has no bearing when it comes to one of Toronto’s youngest, quickly-rising artists, Ebhoni. The 17-year-old singer-songwriter has humble beginnings with her music published on YouTube ( garnering over100,000 plays per video) to becoming one of the most sought-after on Soundcloud. Working with producer, XELARIN on the bouncy, pop tune, “Bye Baby,” to the infectious and floral, “Killing Roses,” and the assertive, “What You Want,” from her latest EP, Mood Ring, Ebhoni delivers strong R&B hooks and mature lyricism. Her live sets are just as captivating as her music, with a full dance crew and Ebhoni’s sharp execution of choreography, she is a true performer making all the right moves.
Liza Waz creates music for a specific headspace. The Toronto artist pairs serious soul inflections in her emotive, easy-going tracks that honour her beautiful vocal style. Her February 29 EP highlights her unique sound with diverse production (crediting work with CVRE, Juda, Nahum and Vincent Basil on the tracks) and a sonic diary that ebbs and flows through every verse. Themes of anxiety and desire weave through the works with authentic intricacy, yet are open enough for interpretation. This vulnerability and honesty makes Liza’s music applicable for audiences looking for something true.
The dark, progressive production that drives “Summit,” the title track of Aiza’s latest release, sets the cold, yet, tender aesthetic of this songstress’ music. And we love it. With sharp cadence, heart-rending delivery atop key-laden beats and sultry riffs, Summit is an impressive introduction to Aiza’s growing portfolio. Whether on the honest “Selfish,” to the atmospheric “Demons,” Summit is an expedition that climaxes before concluding with the moody “After Party Interlude,” a helpless give-all ode to when your well runs dry. We look forward to Aiza setting the tone at Adelaide Hall next week.
Savadouchi has swag. The Scarborough native rocks long braids, tattoos and gold. But don’t let his assertive demeanour and style overshadow his music. With a plethora of singles and lots of work with producer, Syndrome, Savadouchi draws inspiration from a lifestyle of ambitious grinding, self-worth and reclamation. “Hollow Tips,” the slow and steady Henny-drenched “Charged Up” (produced by LilGuap) and his latest, “Fly Slow” are top picks.
It’s an east-end party when Ikeno steps onto the stage. The Scarborough-based rapper is a true poet that has a rolodex of collaborations and a variety of styles on each EP. His latest venture, North America Presents: Lost Keyz II, is a great example. Produced by North English with the hands of Nate Smith and Batista on deck, Ikeno raps upon bouncy beats with abrasive lyricism. It’s the perfect soundtrack for whipping around the city late at night, or your weekend jam. “Salt N Peppa” features friend of the show, 5HEV, and “Rockstar” is another highlight track (“This feels like Thank Me Later Track 10, except we don’t have champagne, we’ve got Bambino…”). But Ikeno can take it slow, too. On his collab with DijahSB, “that’s LIGHT!” (produced by Waycool’s Martin Sole) pairs old school sounds with confident bars. “Tek Time (Touch Road)” is one of my favourites – Ikeno shows he can rock the dancehall, too, in this hot summer tune. If versatility is a key to longevity in the scene, dabbling is one of Ikeno’s top artistic qualities.
Love songs are not a cliché when written by Mickey Blue. A classy dude with some serious pipes, the friend of the show crafts hooks to steal your girl. But that’s not really his intention. “I’m there for them," Mickey says of his audience as a whole. "They came to watch, so anything I can do to keep them engaged, whether its shouting out where my ladies or fellas at, especially when it’s brand new music no one has heard.” Working closely with his production partner, Benny Liang, and their collective, We Are The School, Mickey’s approach blends classic and contemporary concepts and a fresh take on love. Whether on his sexy, “Kick It For A Minute,” or “We Just Be,” a ballad that yearns to understand the complicated compromise of love, Mickey touches on all emotions, elements of a relationship and knowledge of self. Learn more about this contemporary crooner in our exclusive interview.
The 905 will be represented by headliner Derin Falana. The young artist has been making a name for himself over the past year and is one of the city's brightest rising stars. After being sidelined with laryngitis in 2016 Derin returned with a vengeance, hitting the Echo Beach stage for Manifesto11. He's currently been entertaining listeners with his ongoing These Days: Audio Journal series. The singles work as a coherent playlist documenting the world through the eyes of Derin Falana. Cruising (Prod. by Po & Jordon Manswell), Live From Hollowgrove (Produced by Jahmal Gittens) & These Days (Prod. by Jahmal Gittens) are some of my favourites as the really encapsulate the artist's wave. Look out for Derin to put on for Brampton and the whole 905 when he hits the stage.
Elcee The Artist
Toronto's Elcee The Artist dropped his latest project #Mainstream2 last month. The 16 track mixtape features stand out tracks Promiseland [Prod. by The Kount & ElceeTheArtist], Moon Runner ft. JimmyYitty [Prod. by ElceeTheArtist] and Dark Corner [Prod. by ElceeTheArtist]. He also tackles remixes of hits like Fake Love and T-Shirt, flexing his lyrical abilities on the popular beats. He also produces many of his tracks which could be why his bars and beats line up so effortlessly. Interestingly enough Elcee first jumped on the scene as a streetballer, chefing up unknowing casuals on the court. Check out some of his baller footage while bumping his latest tape, you won't be disappointed you did.
Mobi Mawla is a young Canadian recording artist from Toronto, Ontario. At 21 years old, he's gone on to perform on a number of large stages around the city while working on perfecting his craft. In May of 2016 he released GENERATION Z, his debut EP that featured the single Fuze. More recently he's released the singles What You Need & H.Y.P. which feature futuristic production Keith Bell and a flurry of words from Mobi.
St.Catherines Sayzee dropped his self titled mixtape earlier this year to critical praise. His innate talent allows him to craft bars around any subject that pops into his head. Nerdy references to Kingdom of Hearts, Dragon Ball Z and the Legend of Zelda can be found nestled next to generic rap bars on whips and tings. Sayzee sound is reflective of the city as he almost exclusively works with Toronto producers including MDKNIGHT, Yogi and KTOE to name a few. Look out for Sayzee to drop a spirit bomb at Adelaide Hall on Wednesday night.
This Toronto artist is a double threat, producing and rapping over his own beats. Dyer worked on music during his teen years but took a break when he started studying at Ryerson University. He returned to the scene last year with his Still Shanti EP which featured production exclusively from CVRE. More recently he's been releasing a self produced single every month to showcase his lyricism and production skills.
Aaron Alem, better known by his stage name, Keffaleng, is a Canadian singer, rapper, producer, and songwriter from Toronto. In 2016, Keffaleng was featured on Toronto artist GOV Nights EP, which resulted in a video for LowKey / On My Mind. Currently Keffaleng owns an independent recording label, DPXND, he released his debut EP, Not So Famous in March, 2017, premiered by Vibe Magazine and supported by MTV, Hotnewhiphop and the popular website
2DopeBoyz.com. The EP has gained a moving response with The Source Magazine naming Keffaleng a “Canadian Mastermind.” It features seven tracks which includes a collaboration with Def Jam recording artist Amir Obe on the Davinci produced single, “Yeah, Yeah.” Keffaleng was introduced to Apple Music online program Beats 1 Radio, in the new "Discovered" Spotlight for the single "Anything" by Vice President of Emmis Communications (WQHT Hot 97NY) / radio personality, Ilbrahim "Ebro" Darden. The single "Anything" was featured on Topsify playlist via Apple Music on June 5th, 2017.