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Break hip-hop down to its essence of instantly memorable lyrics with unpredictable metaphors and wordplay over carefully chosen beats, and you have everything embodied by Toronto’s "12th Letter".
With inspirations as diverse as Nas, Jay-Z, Rakim, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, L has set out to make commercially viable hip-hop and plans to break new ground for the culture. Discovering his aptitude for putting together rhymes in his early teens, by age 16 the now 26-year-old had decided to turn his hobby into a career. After rapping in a group called All-City until 2009 and getting a taste of the industry by opening for Ne-Yo and Swizz Beatz at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre in 2007, and meeting with influential figures such as Russell Simmons, L went solo.
Taking control of his career, L began to collaborate with DJ/producer Mercilless. His self-contained and hands-on approach to production and creative direction paid off when in April 2011 L released a compilation of viral tracks that had been recorded during the previous year. Amply titled “The Last 12 Months”, it featured the buzz-worthy single “Past Due”.
Musically inspired, less than two months later L followed “The Last 12 Months” with “Just Rap.” Showing emotional depth, lyrical ability and growth, the mixtape’s topics included observations on the music industry, romantic relationships, the dynamic between friends as well as social commentary and more.
“Just Rap” and its lead single of the same name solidified L as an artist with substance and garnered radio spins on local shows such as Stylistik Endeavours (CIUT), Backroads Radio (CHRY) and on the New Flow 935 as well as clubs spins by two-time Stylus Award Mixshow DJ of the Year DJ P-Plus and 2011 Stylus Award Rated Next Nominee DJ Smartiez. It also led to L opening for New York artist Jean Grae at Canada’s largest hip-hop festival, Manifesto, as well as performing at local Toronto platforms such as Droppin’ Knowledge and F.Y.I.
Having recently released a second video (“Follow Me”) from “Just Rap”, L is currently splitting his time between his crew, The Winners Circle, with fellow Toronto rappers Bad Newz and Ekko Effect, and recording his debut LP, “Hear No Evil/Music to My Ears”.
“I used to pride myself on my lyrics and that is the thing I’m most comfortable with,” L sums up. “But I want to pride myself on really making good songs that have longevity, that stick and impact the culture for years to come.”