The Toronto late-night scene is filled with hidden gems, diamonds in the rough and dream chasers. It can be hard to find something worthwhile to sink your teeth into. Enter my favorite new find – Papito Scotti. Papito is born in Toronto with Filipino heritage, and the debut artist for my Toronto Music Spotlight series. He had me wondering where he’s been, and thankful we don’t have to wonder anymore because his new single “Dopamine” is out today!
Pulling from the powerful legacy of the late Bobby Cladwell (August 15, 1951 – March 14, 2023), the song samples his classic “What You Won’t Do For Love”, while effortlessly reinventing it for the modern hip-hop fan. The dynamism displayed on the track as it moves between drill-anthem and heartfelt ode is perfect for the subject matter he addresses.
A “memento mori” inspired by the pandemic and personal loss is how Papito described it to me, and with confidence I can say he achieved that goal. The song captures the dissonance of loss, the chaos of healing, and the difficult journey to the other side of pain, all executed through the thoughtful lens of an entertainer. It’s another strong showing from the new school of drill that takes on emotional content while maintaining the essence of what makes it hip-hop.
We had met at a private show, he was there to support a mutual friend. As we spoke I was shocked when they told me about their history as an artist. Papito had been active since 2015, had done Atlanta’s A3 festival, Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Summer Jazz Festival in Quebec City and shared a stage with The Wu Tang Clan and Big Sean. Somehow this was my first time learning about him, but in what I soon learned was classic Papito fashion he explained “I wouldn’t say niche, but I’m in the CUT, if you know where good shit is, you’ll find me.”
So with all that in mind, I had to ask, where does it all come from? The drive to create, the passion for the game?
“Getting my art seen and heard, being able to sustain and support my fam, friends and myself, letting the world know. That’s what it’s all about. People talk about the grind, but I’m an artist through and through, if i’m not being me, creating, i’m a robot..”, Papito.
The next day we chopped it up about his past and life story, where he’d been to school and we soon found ourselves talking about the moments that made us look at art and see ourselves as the creators.
“Shout out to Candido Portinari, Rembrandt, Berserk, for helping me see my style in that world, you know, but for me it was really young and almost instantaneous,” Papito said.
“Do you remember that “Do For Love” video by Tupac? I saw that and thought ‘You can do this with your art! I’m in!”
I had to admit that I had no idea who Candido Portinari was but from what he had shown me so far I had faith, and after looking them up it all seemed to click in a way.
A Tupac video from the 90’s sparked the creative trajectory that led to 6 years studying New Media & Art. After high school, countless hours in studios recording, drawing, rendering, and here we are today, with the final article.
Papito Scotti drops Dopamin on all streaming platforms the 25th of April and Toronto should stay ready for more because in his own words, “My music sounds like me, determined and resolute.” A legend in the making, be sure to check out his back catalog too where you can find more by Papito Scotti, like my “Dark Skin Sade Pt. 2”. Hailing from the east-end but known world wide, Papit Scotti is one of many who make the toronto music special.