Despite aborted deals with Def Jam and Warner Bros., this versatile, classically-trained MC, producer and vocalist continues to consistently churn out high grade product. From 1999’s The Underground Tapes to the Drake-featuring “Fades Away,” his enviable back catalogue includes collaborations with Common, Pharoah Monch, Nas, Redman and Method Man.
As a member of the ten-deep 90s Toronto hip-hop crew The Circle along with Kardinal Offishall and Saukrates, the still-recording Choclair gained a major label deal on the strength of impressive singles “21 Years,” “Just A Second” and “What Does It Take.” He issued Ice Cold in 1999, highlighting a penchant for humourous amorous rhymes and gaining significant attention for Toronto’s hip-hop scene in the process.
Last year’s Akon-featuring summer hit “Dangerous” from Not 4 Sale capped over a decade of relentless grinding for this proud hometown booster. Kardi’s patois-laced T-dot thesaurus “Bakardi Slang,” the soundclash sureshot “Ol’ Time Killin’,” and his frenetic stage show separate him from the pack and have led him to work with The Neptunes and Timbaland among his countless collaborations.
When his 2002 debut Exit finally dropped after years of singles, it was supposed to be his last album. Three more critically-acclaimed albums later, K-OS is ensconced as an eclectic and formula-eschewing hip-hop artist. “Superstarr Part Zero,” “Crabbuckit” and the recent “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” have carved out K-OS’ reputation for fearlessly drawing from a number of genres while doggedly adhering to his hip-hop roots.
The sophomore effort Troubadour, recorded in Bob Marley’s old studio in Jamaica has elevated this Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist into the spotlight. A riveting story of life in Somalia fuels the Toronto-based artist’s work, but does not define it. Instead it draws attention to the infectious diasporic musical mélange he executes on “Soobax,” “ABCs,” and “T.I.A. (This is Africa).”