Seattle beatmaker Unkwn has won the 2019 edition of the SOCAN-sponsored Battle of the Beatmakers, a Toronto-based, global competition to determine the best hip-hop producer on the planet. Cino, from Ottawa, is the first runner-up, while the top four semi-finalists also included Toronto-based Bombay and Dylan Kusch of Saskatoon.

The preliminaries of the competition were held at the Daniels Spectrum on Aug. 29 and 30, 2019, as 64 beat-making producers did battle for a jury that included Grammy Award-winning producer T-Minus, and Grammy-nominated producers Mike & Keys.

The following night, Aug. 31, the final 32 producers vied for the title in The Main Event, at The Opera House, with the same judges. Wildcard producer Hail Czar battled Killakell, who held the 32nd spot in the competition. Czar won the spot but didn’t make it past the first round. In round three, Cino won against the top-ranked producer 10A. While only two females out of 32 producers made it into the competition, Washington music producer J’nae Morrae ranked 4th heading into the competition.

During the event, SOCAN sponsored and maintained the VIP Lounge, which hosted live-streaming interviews with various contestants before the determination of the final eight.

For more information, visit the Battle of the Beatmakers website.

Hip-hop combo Dubmatique is known for popularizing the genre in Québec in the latter part of the ’90s, thanks to its wildly popular album, La force de comprendre. They’re about to write a new page in the history books at the 30th annual SOCAN Awards Gala, to be held at Montréal’s La Tohu on Sept. 22, 2019. Their hit “Soul pleureur” will become the very first hip-hop song to become a SOCAN Classic in Québec. We met with Jérôme Belinga (DiSoul) and Ousmane Traore (OTMC). and they told us about the inspiration behind their hit. They also told us about what the Francophone rap scene was like back then, and their take on the current “rap queb” scene, which they help to propel forward.

Creative duo Ludovick Bourgeois and Fred St-Gelais will receive a Popular Music Award for their hit, “Desert Song,” during the at the 30th Montréal SOCAN Awards Gala held on Sept. 22, 2019, at La Tohu. We met with them so that they explain how their collaboration began, after Ludovick’s late father Patrick Bourgeois phoned Fred while he was trekking the American desert on his own. They also told us the story behind “Desert Song,” a piece of music they didn’t expect to have as much success as it did. That was merely the beginning of their affinity, and they’ve collaborated further on Ludovick’s album, the first single of which, “Que sera me vie,” has just come out.