I have tried to rewrite it but there isn't a better way to say this: Canada has dominated the world of music for the first quarter of this year. 2020 has been filled with odd news headlines that you never saw coming and this is easily one of them. Almost four months have gone by and Canadian artists, across multiple genres, have shape-shifted culture and dominated airwaves in ways that a lot of people didn’t see coming. Every month has led to someone new from The Great White North that has emerged to drop some of this year’s hottest hits.
The year of Canadian dominance began within the first few days of the year when pop superstar Justin Bieber’s comeback single “Yummy” debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it could’ve been #1 but beating “The Box” was like beating Tyson in ‘87.) Only being released for two months, the full-length album Changes has already secured almost 700,000 in sales with two top ten singles.
Next up to bat was The Weeknd, who came out ready to swing as his two previously released singles “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless” hinted to the Abel Hive that a new project was on the way. Everything about the growing afro and the devilishly-red suits gave signs that he was finding his way back to his old sound. The anticipation had built up so much that when he announced the release of his fourth album After Hours, he immediately broke the Apple Music record for the most individual pre-orders: 1.02 million. Once the album dropped, the singer went on grab another #1 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 with almost half a million sold and hasn’t left the #1 spot since. The following week after the LP dropped, it solidified itself as a smash once it got two more #1 singles under its belt at the end of March.
The closest competition that has come to the knocking the album off the throne was Tory Lanez's New Toronto 3, a celebratory mixtape that was the ultimate sayonara to his Interscope contract amidst the creative issues that he had with his former label. The project was also a poster child to the unprecedented amount of free promotion he collected behind the success of Quarantine Radio. What started as a casual IG live session turned into the stuff of Pop culture legend breaking most day viewers records and finding a way to consistently captivate an audience stuck with an overdose of boredom. The idea was a strategic move as the “Beauty In the Benz” singer was still carrying momentum from last year’s release “Chixtape 5”, a new-era nostalgic soundtrack featuring all of your favorite hits from the Motorola RAZR days. Using his daily audiences of at least 150,000 watching his Instagram Live, Lanez stretched his fanbase even further with his charismatic personality and carried his self-promoted mixtape to a #2 debut.
While Tory Lanez ran circles around influencers with a strategic social media game, Drake took music’s potential on TikTok to new heights with social media dance song “Toosie Slide”. From the moment it was first previewed, the song was an instant success as it was purposely made to become the next music challenge trend on TikTok. Once it was released at the beginning of April, it quickly skyrocketed in popularity as it went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnered a record-breaking billion views in the first two days on the app.
And these are just the main artists to drop from Canada. We also received the colorful PARTYMOBILE, PARTYNEXTDOOR’s first full-length LP in three years that released last month. One of the newer projects hailing from the Great White North is the impressive, Toronto sound-driven project, A Muse In Her Feelings from acclaimed duo DVSN. With a lot of the year still ahead of us, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that we could be expecting new music from OVO signee Roy Woods and platinum-selling rapper-producer NAV. No matter what happens, Canada has reassured the world that they should never be slept on when it comes to producing tomorrow’s stars in music.