For years, Sean Leon has been credited one of the most extraordinary creative individuals Toronto has to offer. After success in his solo career, along with playing pivotal roles in the careers of other amazing artists like Daniel Caesar and more, Sean made himself and his creative visions a priority again. Fans have been patient with Sean Leon’s releases, understanding that everything he does is worth the wait. In 2022, Sean Leon came back with a vengeance. He released the incredible well received project Heard Immunity before sharing his Kanye West collab “BURN EVERYTHING.” This past year, Sean Leon made it
clear that there is a gap between him and anyone else that even claims to be as prolific as a creative and visionary. In 2023, we expect incredible things from Sean Leon and the PUPIL team.
Despite being one of the few Toronto rappers to not take the stage at Toronto’s first rolling loud this past year, Brampton’s NorthSideBenji continued to build on his already accomplished career. Fans know Benji prioritizes quality over quantity when it comes to music – and he proved it again with three singles released in 2022. Following a Juno nomination, Benji dropped the COLORSxSTUDIOS collab “Raids.” Then, the official release of “One In The Chamber,” which was originally teased years ago from the featured UK artist Unknown T. Before the year ended, Benji dropped another fan-favourite single, “Way Too Much Love.” Despite having limited releases, NorthSideBenji remained impactful and active this year, and has earned his place as one of the country’s top artists.
Over the last few years Duvy has put together an extremely impressive string of hits. The artist is one of the most consistent independent rappers in Toronto and his quality of work never disappoints. I’m 2022, Duvy put out two full length albums, GRASSWAYZ and How Did I End Up Here – and both have been praised by fans. In addition to these projects, the artist has also collected hundreds of thousands of streams and views on separate singles like “So High,” “Rich off Drugs” and more. 2022 was definitely one of Duvy’s strongest years, and we hope we can turn up again in 2023.
In 2022, Dom Vallie cemented himself as part of Canada’s next generation of talent. He started the year off with the official release of his viral single “Been Himma,” then continued to flood fans with content and moments throughout the year. Before closing out the year by dropping a highly anticipated project in the fall, titled Are We There yet?, Vallie had fans hooked with his deep, honest and motivational track “Didn’t Go Through” in which he outlines his experience with a major label negotiation. Dom Vallie had an incredible 2022 and seems to have even more in store in 2023.
In 2022, Haviah Mighty continued to prove why she deserves to be one of the most accomplished musicians in Canada. She reached new heights by becoming the first woman ever to win the Juno award for Best Rap Album and of course she deserves her praise for being a gifted lyricist and performer, but she also deserves praise for empowering herself and all the women in hip hop. That’s not all though. In addition to releasing highly successful singles like her own COLORSxSTUDIOS collab “Imagine That” as
well as a few collaborations before dropping her single “Honey Bun,” Haviah Mighty traveled to the BET Awards where she was nominated for Best International Flow. In 2022, the artist was not only rightfully recognized by her peers and fans in Canada, but she was also recognized internationally. We congratulate Haviah on having an incredible year and are excited to celebrate even more of her success in 2023.
In the last few years, Jessie Reyez has shot to super stardom, all while being limited by a prolonged pandemic. In 2022 though, a brand new Jessie rose from the chaos – she allowed herself to be embraced and celebrated the way she deserves to be. After dropping a few loose singles early in the year, she would begin rolling out YESSIE, one of our favourite albums of the year. The project would be cohesive, yet experimental, fun, yet somber – and so much more. Much like Jessie, the project was layered and real. YESSIE has been praised as one of the best projects this year by many and fans have been showing their support on the artist’s headlining tour. We can tell you from firsthand experience that Jessie’s live show does not disappoint. She sounds incredible live and engages with fans using a level of grace and appreciation that is hard not to admire. Jessie Reyez has had an incredible 2022 and we hope she continues to enjoy 2023, as she travels internationally for the rest of her tour dates.
Our November 2022 cover star Savannah Ré has continued to elevate herself into one of the country’s most impressive R&B artists. In 2022, she repeated as the Juno award winner for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the year with “24 hours.” Then in September, she gave fans even more of what they love from her on her No Weapons EP, which was celebrated by fans and fellow artists alike. In 2022, Savannah also performed her first headline show in Toronto. Not only was she an incredible by herself,
but she also made sure to create a space for others to share the spotlight with her. Although 2022 was incredible to her, we know that even more success will find the Savannah Ré in 2023.