With Vancouver being the hub of British Columbia, especially in respects to music, other cities in the province often get left out or at the very least, take the back stage. Growing up on Vancouver Island, I was able to relate to the feeling of solitude from the rest of the music industry. It felt like you had to move to the big city to have any chance at success. Luckily, as the internet and more specifically social media developed, that rapidly started to change. The original idea behind creating a blog that covers the entire province was to give those other regions a voice. There are plenty of media outlets that cover Vancouver hip hop, but the talent from the surrounding cities tend to get overlooked.
Searching for music outside of the usual areas has given me the opportunity to connect with some amazing artists that I would have never heard about otherwise.
Victoria is one of those places that took me a while to dig for talent. At first I thought the city was devoid of a hip hop scene. There were a few doing the bar circuit and opening acts for touring artist but I struggled to find anyone that I was truly excited about in terms of overall potential. The more time I spent doing my thing, however, the more the gems started to shine through.
One of those artists specifically caught my ear and it was more than just one catchy tune. Although there was limited content, everything I heard was nothing short of amazing. I've gone on record before stating that Victoria rapper/producer JSTMKY (known by his previous name Class Act back then) is one of my favourites in the province and I stand by that for several reasons. One, as I've said before, is the consistency. Everything he puts out sounds polished to the point of album quality. Secondly is his writing style. Aside from being a great lyricist and an ability to write in a way that keeps the listener interested in what he is saying, he also brings imagery to his bars while speaking solely from the heart. The third reason is his production work. He does everything himself and pulls it off to the point where it sounds like he has an entire team working with him. From perfect samples to crisp, booming basslines, he puts together beats that sound like they belong on an album of your favourite mainstream rapper.
Up until his breakout single "Exuses" he was largely flying under the radar. The song is sitting at 50k views on Spotify which is far ahead of any of his other tracks. The rest of his catalogue is currently floating around the 1k mark. In my opinion, he still doesn't get the recognition he deserves. Any time I mention him, very few know who I am talking about but every time I introduce his music to somebody, they agree that the man has a ton of talent.
JSTMKY (pronounced "Just Mikey") hadn't released anything for the past year since dropping Exuses, save for several instrumentals on his beat page, but has just now released a track from the vault. A deeply personal song called Silhouettes featuring Natasha Tarry.
Now he is ready to get back to releasing music with more previously unreleased content as well as some fresh new material. Catch up with this guy if you haven't already. If you know what's good, you will be as impressed as I was. Listen to some of his standout tracks below.
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