I'm going to cut to the chase, the music scene in Ottawa is unique, to say the least.
It's a combination of SoundCloud rappers trying to be the next 6 God, fans trying to put the city on, bloggers trying to make it by telling artists what they want to hear, photographers associating themselves with a select few to maintain mystery, and just a whole bunch of shadiness. The music scene in Ottawa is masked by an air of "holier than thou" energy because supposedly, it's all just a competition; a race to get to the top. Artists might claim that they're putting Ottawa on and that they're doing this or that but you know who really deserves some credit? Our local producers.
Many times, when the topic of Ottawa music is brought up, rappers and singers are highlighted but no one really talks about the producers who literally had to put together a whole beat and who will mix and master these songs for the artists. That's why, I'm dedicating this list to some (see that word? SOME, NOT ALL, SOME BECAUSE I CAN'T FIT 5634224 PEOPLE) of Ottawa's really great producers, in no particular order.
Now, the last time I did this kind of list, I hurt a lot of people's feelings because they either felt excluded or like I was wrong for not including people who have been in Ottawa's music scene for however many years. Here's the thing, I'm not writing lists about the oldest artists in the game or about the top/best/most amazing anything or anyone. This isn't supposed to be exclusionary or hurtful, it's simply highlighting a select few; if you have an issue with that, plead your case, I guess - our submissions are always open. With that being said, please don't cry, huff, and pout or get mad at me because I "don't do my research" because I do. However, unfortunately, there's no encyclopedia that lists every single artist in the city so excuse me if I don't know who you are.
I'm also going to be honest and let you guys know now that I only really listen to hip-hop and RnB so it's harder for me to come across EDM music. If I miss a couple of you EDM/electronica producers, definitely feel free to reach out by emailing me directly, I'd love to discover more from the genre.
I already know I'd get crucified by the city of Ottawa if I did not include Chanks, however, fortunately, I knew I was going to include him from the moment I thought of writing this list. Honestly, there's not much explanation needed; he's been deemed by many as the go-to Ottawa producer, Ottawa's next big thing, next to get signed, etc. etc., the list goes on. Asides from making a name for himself, he's actually extremely talented garnering attention from popular YouTuber, Deej Design and many other artists in the city. Chanks is fairly low key but he's well known for mainly working with rappers and putting out some crazy beats. Now, I know a lot of people were upset because I didn't add him to my 11 Ottawa rappers list but honestly, I was definitely saving him for this list; in my opinion (yes, people have opinions), he's more notable as a producer than a rapper.
LaGuil is definitely an very sought after producer considering he produces, masters, and records top quality music. Similarly to Chanks, LaGuil is very well known for his multi-dimensional mixes of R&B and hip-hop beats having worked with Maurice Moore, Illyminiachi, DVBBS, Kevin McCall and many more. In addition to this, he's also live mixed at Bluesfest and his talent extends far beyond being just a producer. He's skilled, focused, and his work is no joke making him a professional in the game.
J Gramm is honestly like an Ottawa legend because although he hails from Ottawa, he's worked with the likes of Travis Scott, D.R.A.M., Kodak Black, Lil Yachty, Wiz Khalifa, and many, many more. To give some more context, if you've listened to the song "Broccoli" by Lil Yachty and D.R.A.M., then you know who J Gramm is because he produced the track. To say he's talented would be an understatement and he's really putting on for himself which is amazing to see in this city. In fact, I've known about J Gramm for years now, probably since I was in high school so it's insane to see how far he's come and to see what he's up to.
Another amazing artist who really puts in work. What's admirable about Ian Lorts is how hardworking and determined he is to truly succeed; he's always sharing his music and reaching out to people so I know he's about his game. I've known about his music for quite some time now but I only really started getting into it within the last year. It's definitely a mix of RnB and hip-hop but more so on the RnB side; almost like trap RnB if that makes sense but his music is definitely extremely versatile. Anyways, Ian has been in the game for a while and he's very sought after, many times performing/DJing at venues such as PRVT PRPRTY and NVY.
I honestly kept pronouncing his name as "macsa (one word) producer" until I realized it was "Mac's a Producer" haha, sorry but I had to mention that. Anyways, this producer also hails from Ottawa and he has a good amount of tracks out. Although I've never met him, from what I can tell, he produces a lot of hip-hop and rap beats for many different artists in the city. He's worth checking out and most definitely someone to keep your eye on because he was suggested by many people and after browsing through his catalogue, I can definitely say I fxck with his music.
This guy is a literal legend, he is amazing! He's worked with a ton of acclaimed artists in this industry including Ace Hood, Rick Ross, Mike Davis, and more. What's really unique and impressive about John is his use of real instruments in a beat, something not many producers do. You can actually hear the drums or the guitar or the saxophone which, in my opinion, is hella dope because not many producers still do that so it's a nice refresher.
Mali is not very well known but his producing skills are way too good to not have included him. He's an 18 year old currently completing his undergrad at the University of Ottawa but in his spare time, all he works on is music. His expertise lies in the hip-hop, RnB, and EDM genres, however, in addition to producing, mixing and mastering music, he also raps and is part of a group called 5yrslate. What he is best known for, however, is working very closely to Omari Mydz who is also an Ottawa local. The two work together nearly every day and have been producing music that has gotten a lot of recognition and love from not only the city, but also in the US and U.K. Mali may be young and he may not be known to many but his talent is not to go unnoticed.
I didn't even know how influential Carde Blanche was until I realized just how many of my favorite Ottawa artists had tracks that were produced by him! It's funny because I followed him a while back without realizing who he was and the music he had produced and then it all hit me. His sounds are incredibly versatile and he's worked with artists such as Vi, JaioftheRise, SVLM and JUWN who all have pretty different styles but that tend to stick in the RnB/ rap genre. Finding a producer who creates unique beats is difficult but Carde Blanche definitely does this with his music. In fact, check out "Wait" by Vi which is honestly one of my favorite songs from an Ottawa local.
I couldn't even tell you the amount of times I've seen OTR's name pop up and how many times he has been suggested to me. Well, rest assured as I did check out his music catalogue and I can fully say that I am a fan and I look forward to hearing more of his music. To be quite frank, I'm not entirely sure if he also records and raps but I can certainly vouch for his beats. It's the type of music I listen to when I'm mad at my man and I just want to drive down Airport Parkway with the music on blast; basically just very vibe-y and chill.
Ohmigosh, when I discovered SXLA, I was beyond impressed, words can't even describe how much I love his music. I don't know what it is but his beats are just so clean and well put together, everything is so melodic and pure; every little sound just comes together so nicely, if that makes any sense at all. It's really something you'll have to go listen to yourself but I am in love! Definitely one of my favorites in the city, especially his aesthetic with the anime.
To be quite frank, I almost forgot to include this producer but right before I published the post, I remembered him! Ariyan's a really great Ottawa local who's performed at Escapade before and who has close ties to XO. He's often traveling between LA and Ottawa but he's been in the game for a hot minute. If anyone deserves recognition, it's for sure Ariyan.
It took me FOREVER to find this producer, at one point, I thought people were trolling me because I couldn't find him! However, after thorough research, I finally found his SoundCloud page and I'm mad I didn't discover him earlier. Bromar's music is just so neat and raw even when the recording artist is not the best. On top of that, although a lot of his beats are hip-hop, his sound is diverse and it's most definitely something I see popping off. Listen to more than one song and you'll experience something different each time.
September 10, 2018
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