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Northern touch: '90s  Canadian hip-hop classics

Editorial Staff

By Chris Dart

Up until the late 1980s, hip-hop in Canada was largely seen as an imported product. We went to shows by touring American rappers, listened to rap music on American border town stations like Buffalo's WBLK and Detroit's WJLB, but we didn't make a lot of rap music. Well, actually we did, but with no music industry or radio support — save for campus radio — you never would have known it.

Maestro Fresh Wes's breakout success in 1989 paved the way for the first wave of domestic hip-hop. While Canadian rappers still struggled for both money and respect — and indeed, still do — it became impossible to deny the country's talent pool.

To prove our point, here are 15 of the biggest, best and most surprisingly influential Canadian hip-hop songs of the 1990s. Listen to the playlist below, and hit "open gallery" to start the list.

Follow Chris Dart on Twitter: @ChrisDartCOTF