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REVIEW: MANIFESTO

Returning for its eleventh year, Manifesto shut down Echo Beach this weekend with their lineup of young, up and coming Toronto artists…along with a few guests from the US. If you’re not familiar with Manifesto, it’s definitely one of the few events in the city you should get behind. Boasting great talent from around the GTA, Manifesto acts as a platform for artists from Toronto’s Hip-Hop community to show the city what they’re made of.

Founded in 2007, Manifesto continues to put “local artists on the map and unite, inspire and empower diverse communities of young people through arts and culture.” With over 1000 artists showcased throughout their decade long run, Manifesto has become a name synonymous with Toronto Hip-Hop.

For the second year in a row, Manifesto brought their sound to the RBC Echo Beach stage with headliner Majid Jordan along with several other local rappers and R&B crooners who helped shut things down and turn the party way, way up.

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The Sorority, a group of four female rappers, got things started with their empowering lyrics and messages of unity. What began as a match through the Toronto Cypher last year, the four emcee’s had no problem finding their sound and seamlessly melding their individual raps into hard hitting singles like Ladies’ Night (a tribute to the ’97 song), spitting bars about standing with Muslims and Black Lives Matter advocates. The song also highlights the often over-looked efforts of women in the rap community. With their easy flow, slick rhymes and strong lyrics don’t expect these women to be over-looked for long.

The afternoon continued with a line-up of rappers hailing from Brampton all the way to Scarborough. 23 year old Brampton native, Derin Falana, got the crowd bumping to his unique voice, and his care free attitude that mirrored his clever lyrics. Mathtew Progress then took the stage and moved the crowd with his deep sound and smooth flow. Tika Simone and Sean Leon hit the stage as well, before the first US guest of the night came out.

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Toronto welcomed Wisconsin rapper Jidenna to the stage with a huge roar, feeding off the energy he received from the crowd Jidenna moved and grooved across the stage. Hitting us with hits from his album The Chief. The single “Long Live the Chief”, a tribute to his father, had us all singing along and bumping to his band. Once he started rapping over strong afro beats, Jidenna tapped into his Nigerian roots and brought Africa to Echo Beach. Of course he couldn’t leave the stage without reminding us that he is, and always will be a “Classic Man”.

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Finishing up the hip hop for the night was Tenessee artist Isaiah Rashad. He came and gave the audience a taste of his down south vibes and high energy before California band The Internet hit the stage. As the sun started to set, the crowd filled closer and closer to the stage to hear the soulful styling of this eclectic band. With a sound reminiscent of Outkast, The Internet had us singing along and swaying to hits off their albums Feel Good, Purple Naked Ladies and the ever popular Ego Death, before teasing us with songs off their solo projects.

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The Internet got the crowd pumped, loose and more than ready for the headliners of the night, Toronto R&B duo Majid Jordan. The two stepped onto a smoke filled stage and the energy in the air was palpable. They thanked Toronto for their love and support while Majid Al Maskati serenaded us with his sweet voice and Jordan Ullman kept us moving with the electronic sound that plays for the perfect background under Majid’s smooth vocals. The duo even surprised the crowd with not one but two surprise guests from their shared label OVOSOUND. Roy Woods and DVSN came out and treated the crowd to their hit singles before Majid Jordan came back and closed out the show. 

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the festival this summer, no stress, Manifesto will be back later on in the summer with an all ages block party as well as a few more events for the year including an art summit in the fall. Head to mnfsto.com to see what else is in store for Toronto.

by Josette Lafleur