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Representing The TDOT: Toronto Hip-Hop Bad RapAddi Stewarthttp://www.nowtoronto.com/music/story.cfm?content=162220&archive=27,29,2008NOW MAGAZINE PRESENTS THE NEXT SHIT: ISIS FROM THUNDERHEIST, EMPIRE, THEOLOGY 3,KAMAU, MINDBENDER and DJ NANA at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Friday (March 21). $12, advance $10. 416-516-8677.
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With so many insanely great artists making bangin‟ beats and dope discs, why is the local sceneso slept on? NOW writer and hip-hop artist Addi Stewart, aka Mindbender, wants answers.This is a throwdown – a show-down between art and business, past and future and, ultimately, success and failure.I‟ve been part of the Canadian hip-hop scene – performing as Mindbender of Supreme BeingUnit – since 1996. Back then expectations were high.Choclair was featured in hip-hop bible The Source‟s Unsigned Hype section in June 1997, and so many Canadians thought, “This is it, guy! Toronto‟s gonna blow up this year!”Eleven years later and we‟re still waiting. We‟re still trying to convince Canadians that our hip-hop is as good as, if not better than, anybody else‟s. Meanwhile, some of the best talent in thecity – in the country! – remains almost completely unknown.Scarborough supercrew Monolith, with Dan-E-O, have been doing it since 1995‟s anthemic Dear Hip Hop video. He knows a multitude of reasons why Toronto hasn‟t blown up.“The only way you can get local hip-hop is from independent artists, because it‟s not on the major labels. Back in the day, we had to pay for it and tape it off the radio. Now the value has decreased,” he says. “I guarantee you, a lot of us are making superior albums, but no one knows about it.”That‟s why NOW has put together The Next Shit at the Wrongbar Friday, showcasing some of the local hip-hop talents who haven‟t had the attention they deserve.In the meantime, the question remains: What‟s getting in the way of these artists finding success, whether nationally or internationally?Some people blame Toronto for refusing to take pride in its homegrown hip-hop. Sometime after the Northern Touch-era mid-90s peak, when the Rascalz united with Thrust, Checkmate, Choclair and Kardinal Offishall to create Canada‟s unofficial rap anthem, Toronto was beinghailed as the T. Dot O. Dot.Then our fair city devolved, becoming the Screwface Capital, the city that didn‟t care. It‟s ashameful moniker but one the local hip-hop community begrudgingly accepts as an accurate reflection of the prevailing attitude.Respect to David Miller, but the original mayor of the Screwface Capital is community serviceicon/MC Theology 3, who gave us that name back in 2000.“That indifference really started well before I was on the hip-hop scene, and not much has changed,” he says. “It‟s excruciating, but it‟s also a great proving ground in terms ofperformance.”
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Remember when radio DJ Arcee, host of FLOW 93.5‟s The Real Frequency, poignantly said: “Welcome to Toronto, where we‟ll pay $20 to boo you!”? And local MC Marvel‟s hilarious reference to a Toronto rap show inspiring an “attack of the killer tomatoes”?Damn straight you better come correct. Those who were there back in the day know how manyobstacles we still must overcome. Listen to David “Click” Cox, Universal A&R rep and former Maximum Definitive group member.“Back in the early 90s, before BET and urban radio, it was almost better for us,” says Cox. “There was a lot more patriotic love for Canadian music than I think there is today.“This is a conservative marketplace, and that‟s embedded in Canadian blood and minds. It‟s an inferiority complex. [Canadian artists] need to find their own identity, create something special and unique.”Local light Eternia worries that the hip-hop identity crisis is related to a broader Canadian identity crisis.“The reason why native Canadian hip-hop does well, cuz it does, the reason why Quebecois hip-hop does so well, the reason why people in France go platinum is because they are speaking to their people in a language and a way that nobody else can.“The reason why an English-speaking regular Canadian artist like myself can‟t blow up on ourhome turf is because we don‟t agree on what the language of our people is.”U.S. rapper Bun B, who was featured on Jay-Z‟s Big Pimpin‟ and appears on Kardinal Offishall‟s new album coming soon on Akon‟s Konvict Records, appears to have mastered the art of sparking hometown pride. And he wants us to learn how to do it, too.“People have to show how strong the hip-hop fan base is in Canada and make that understood in America, cuz we don‟t really know. You first have to get up and support your own people.“Plus, Canadian artists need to cross - NOW Magazine


Best Bets - July 3-9BY Denise Benson July 02, 2008 DJ NANA B-DAY JAMhttp://www.eyeweekly.com/clubs/bestbets/article/32600With DJs Glass, Flash, Techtwele, Agile. Thu, July 3. Revival (in the Stone Lounge), 783 College. $5.District Six artist DJ Nana is one of those cool guys who‟s got mad talent, but is calm and quiet about it. You‟ll find him moving the dancefloor at some of the city‟s most diverse hip-hop parties, performing as a DJ with live acts such as K‟Naan, Zaki Ibrahim and Kamau, and producing for MCs including Planet Asia, Grimace Love and Collizhun. Nana has flash, but heain‟t flashy, as is evident in his strong solo album series, The World Inside My Head. As he gets set to launch Volume 3 later this month, Nana throws himself this birthday party and kicks off anew weekly residency.
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NOW MagazineSat, Oct 6MOKA ONLY/GRAND ANALOG SHOW at the El Mocambo. Rating: NNN http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2007-10-11/music_thescene.phpThose who braved the rain got a double dose of dopeness as the Urbnet Records signees, Winnipeg's Odario of Grand Analog and Vancouver's Moka Only, played selections from their rock-solid new CDs, Calligraffiti and Vermilion, respectively.Odario and his three-piece outfit jumped right into the groove-heavy fury of Grand Analog's dub-hop sound, pulling the audience along wherever they wandered. An almost perfect set of seven songs showcased a balanced range of styles and emotions, from summer love to controlled anger and joyful dancing, and Odario's microphone mastery was impeccable. Contrast this with Moka's subsequent overdose of flow. Though he was sick with a nasal virus, Moka's musicianship shone through as he combined with DJ Nana and S-Roc (aka RichieHennessey of Brassmunk) to recreate at least 20 Moka joints from his expansive catalogue. Even if everyone didn't stay until the last song, Nana's a glorious, note-perfect cover of Moka's Head Over Heels, it provided the sole survivors with a truly happy ending. NOW MagazineRepresenting The TDOT: Toronto Hip-Hop Bad RapAddi Stewarthttp://www.nowtoronto.com/music/story.cfm?content=162220&archive=27,29,2008NOW MAGAZINE PRESENTS THE NEXT SHIT: ISIS FROM THUNDERHEIST, EMPIRE, THEOLOGY 3,KAMAU, MINDBENDER and DJ NANA at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Friday (March 21). $12, advance $10. 416-516-8677.
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With so many insanely great artists making bangin‟ beats and dope discs, why is the local sceneso slept on? NOW writer and hip-hop artist Addi Stewart, aka Mindbender, wants answers.This is a throwdown – a show-down between art and business, past and future and, ultimately, success and failure.I‟ve been part of the Canadian hip-hop scene – performing as Mindbender of Supreme BeingUnit – since 1996. Back then expectations were high.Choclair was featured in hip-hop bible The Source‟s Unsigned Hype section in June 1997, and so many Canadians thought, “This is it, guy! Toronto‟s gonna blow up this year!”Eleven years later and we‟re still waiting. We‟re still trying to convince Canadians that our hip-hop is as good as, if not better than, anybody else‟s. Meanwhile, some of the best talent in thecity – in the country! – remains almost completely unknown.Scarborough supercrew Monolith, with Dan-E-O, have been doing it since 1995‟s anthemic Dear Hip Hop video. He knows a multitude of reasons why Toronto hasn‟t blown up.“The only way you can get local hip-hop is from independent artists, because it‟s not on the major labels. Back in the day, we had to pay for it and tape it off the radio. Now the value has decreased,” he says. “I guarantee you, a lot of us are making superior albums, but no one knows about it.”That‟s why NOW has put together The Next Shit at the Wrongbar Friday, showcasing some of the local hip-hop talents who haven‟t had the attention they deserve.In the meantime, the question remains: What‟s getting in the way of these artists finding success, whether nationally or internationally?Some people blame Toronto for refusing to take pride in its homegrown hip-hop. Sometime after the Northern Touch-era mid-90s peak, when the Rascalz united with Thrust, Checkmate, Choclair and Kardinal Offishall to create Canada‟s unofficial rap anthem, Toronto was beinghailed as the T. Dot O. Dot.Then our fair city devolved, becoming the Screwface Capital, the city that didn‟t care. It‟s ashameful moniker but one the local hip-hop community begrudgingly accepts as an accurate reflection of the prevailing attitude.Respect to David Miller, but the original mayor of the Screwface Capital is community serviceicon/MC Theology 3, who gave us that name back in 2000.“That indifference really started well before I was on the hip-hop scene, and not much h - Eye Weekly


DJ Nana :: The World Inside My Head Vol. 2 :: URBNET Recordsas reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez http://rapreviews.com/archive/2007_12_worldinsidev2.htmlFor those wondering, DJ NaNa didn't just make up his name. NaNa is actually a very common name in Ghana and a name shared by wrestling manager Prince NaNa in the Ring Of Honor promotion. Why does this matter? It matters for the fact that DJ NaNa is a Canadian born DJ/Producer, with roots in Ghana, and who produces/spins a very American form of music. This diversity in culture can only be a positive when it comes to DJ NaNa's craft as he's been exposedto music most hip-hop fans would never peep. His latest release "The World Inside My Head Vol. 2" reflects this diverse musical background as DJ NaNa gives a musical melting pot that is both innovative and head nodding. NaNa kicks things off with "Closer (gimme me some more refix)." The song is an upbeat mix of stuttering drums, fat bass, and the strings from Busta Rhyme's "Gimme Me Some More." Vocals from Busta are thrown in the mix as well. It's not better than the original Busta song, but it is a very interesting mix of music. "One More Chance (Remix)" hits us next and isn't the Biggie remix you would expect. Instead, we get a decent upbeat R&B cut with a few dope scratches andsamples thrown in the mix. "Gimme The Cue" follows and is a unique musical interlude that makes NaNa stand out - not too long, interesting but also entertaining. "That Break" comes in next and ends up being one of the album's few missteps as the repetitive instrumental gets a bitheavy on the ears at three minutes long. "Wheel Life" picks things up a bit as the instrumental selection is more up tempo and interesting than the previous. "Top Billin'" breaks up theinstrumental monotony but ends up being an uninspired freestyle. "Morris" gets things goingagain as the frantic instrumental number doesn't stretch for too long. "Who I Am (Remix)" finds NaNa getting into his best groove on the project. As is the case with most producers, the musictends to be much more entertaining with rappers or singers on it unless it was specifically madeto stand on its own. The vocals on "Who I Am" aren't spectacular but the music switches up enough to make for a decent listen. "32Bloaw (Something For The Streets Refix)" is more of thesame from NaNa - uptempo beat, vocals scratched in at parts. "Untitled" ends up being the
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highlight of the album as Turbin and Planet Asia join NaNa to wreck the beat. Both emcees come tight on the album and NaNa's beat does the job. "Never Leave It Alone" is another track where emcees are prominent and continues the welcome change of pace from instrumentals. NaNa hits us with another instrumental scratch session with "Com'on Y'all" before ending with "Black Eurythmics," a more conventional track. To say DJ NaNa is hard to define would be an understatement. For good or bad, "The World Inside My Head Vol. 2" is an eclectic mix of tracks that is hard to confine to one genre. At hisheart, NaNa is a hip-hop producer, but just not a conventional one. The album sounds to be half inspired by J Dilla's "Donuts" and half inspired by the traditional producer's album. The mixtureof instrumentals, rap tracks, and mixes may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it definitely makes for an interesting listen. By the title alone, it seems this album wasn't meant to be a universallyappealing project., but NaNa shows us he has enough talent and potential to appeal to moremainstream fans if he ever chooses to do so. Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10 - URBNET Records


Xlr8r.comDJ NaNaThe World Inside My Head Vol. 2Urbnet — CanadaHip Hop7/10http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/dj-nana/world-inside-my-head-vol-2It may sound like nonsense, but DJ NaNa's handle is a popular nickname in his parent's homeland of Ghana, and the world inside his Canadian head is an excitingly confusing mess of American freestyle and scratch culture, ‟90s European sample culture, and modern digital post-border sonic vagabondism. NaNa's diverse influences come together on “Wheel Life Is,” blending together Kanye-style chipmunk soul samples, string rhythms, and scratches, and amolasses-slow break out of the chopped-and-screwed playbook. The World Inside My Head, Vol. 2 balances mostly instrumental tracks with selected guest MCs, peaking on “Untitled,” a JayDee-ish showcase for fierce verses from Turbin and Planet Asia - Xlr8r


Discography

“The World in Inside My Head Vol. 3.” to be released July 22, 2008
“The Hypocrite Street Mix Vol. 1: Tarren” released 2008
“Spring Mix ‘08” released 2008
“The World Inside My Head Vol. 2” released 2007
“The Painters Tounge: Equinoxx 199” released 2007
“Undisputed 2: D.O. Mixtape” released 2006
“543” ep released 2006
“543” ep sampler released 2006
“The World Inside My Head” released 2006
“Urbnet Presents Underground Hip Hop Vol. 4” released 2006
“Beware of Dear ” mixtape released 2006
“Wu-bangas 101” Hosted by MC Collizhun 2005
“The African Way Tour Mixtapes” released 2005 mixed by DJ Nana and Rod Skimmins
“The Lesson” released 2003 hosted by Kamau
“First” Kamau ep
“The Queen Aritizia Winter Compilation Vol 1” released 2005

Photos

Bio

DJ Nana is a lover of music like few others claim to be. He has been spinning records for over ten years and is a force to be reckoned with.
Originally from Ghana and raised in a small town in Southern Ontario, Nanas upbringing is what stimulated his love for music. He is an artist, deejay, performer, producer, music supervisor, and promoter who has become a pillar in the Toronto music scene.
Nana believes that the art of spinning is a science. Playing music for a crowd requires great technical and expressive skill. He has the ability to read the hearts and minds of the individuals in the crowd and find the music that they are longing for; this requires a great degree of observation and intuition.
Although experienced, Nana continues to build on his natural ability striving towards the next level. He finds the perfect string of sounds to get people to turn their heads and lift themselves out of their seats. His ultimate aim is to inspire others, bridge gaps and set new artistic standards of integrity infused with creativity.
Obtaining a degree in Fine Arts Cultural Studies from York University, Nana has learned to appreciate the value of an interdisciplinary approach to turntabilism. His vast knowledge of musical culture, history, and evolution of sound has allowed him to tune into the needs of every audience.
Nanas influences range from the predictable, (Wu Tang Clan, Saukrates) to the not so obvious, (Zamfir, Portishead,) as well as everything in between. Adaptability is the name of his game; from trendy nightspots, stilettos, and glam to underground meccas, with hoodies and bling Nanas innovative ways are able to move every crowd.
Appearing on Much Music's MuchVibe and Rogers Sportsnet's NBA XL, as deejay and guest correspondent, Nana spins a mix of Hip Hop, House and R&B and Reggae.
Winning the coveted NOW Magazine award for having the best weekly event in Toronto, Nana is no stranger to when it comes to pleasing the crowd. His impressive list of credits includes long-standing residencies in Toronto and Montreal, as well as sharing the stage with The Roots, K-OS, Saul Williams, K'naan, Bedouin Soundclash, Likota Son, and M1 of Dead Prez.

More recently, Nana appeared on the March 21, 2008 cover of NOW magazine as part of the “Next Shit” showcase as one of Toronto’s up and coming artists.

No sound is left untouched as he goes from classic crate gems, forgotten about soul treasures and international melodies.

Nana is dedicated to music and will continue to show people his love for organized sound through the art of Djing and through the music he chooses to spin for his waiting audience.