A Goodbye From Your Outgoing Hip Hop Music Director

I don't know where to begin to communicate how much gratitude I have for CJLO 1690 AM and everyone I’ve had the privilege of working with over the last three years. I reached out to the station on a whim in 2021, and the first episode of Purple Hour aired just weeks later. The excitement, expression, and ambition this show lit in me was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Just a few months into my tenure at CJLO, I had the honour of taking on the role of Hip Hop Music Director (more like hip hop/R&B/soul/funk music director). Coming from Toronto, when I moved to Montreal to study at Concordia, I was shocked by the lack of presence these genres seemed to hold in the city and the lack of infrastructure in place to support them. I made it my mission to change this by diversifying our music library and programming, giving a platform to incredible local/independent artists in these genres, and fostering a continuous dialogue about the unique artistic, cultural, and structural context we find ourselves in here in Montreal. 

Through my time at CJLO, I have been introduced to so much phenomenal music and so many incredible people, had the privilege of interviewing some of my idols, and found my voice as a host, DJ, and interviewer. This has been so immensely rewarding and I am so profoundly thankful; I can't put it into words. Thank you to everyone at CJLO—you have changed my life forever for the better.

My biggest takeaway is to always just do things you think would be fun. This may sound obvious, but I think we can get wrapped up in thinking too many steps ahead and too hard about what an experience might offer us or lead to. The best decisions I’ve ever made in my life have been on a whim, and the worst have been incessantly pored over. Don’t shy away from the obvious. 

And with that, I conclude my residency as Hip Hop MD by presenting a list of my Top 10 “Artists to Watch” (in no particular order), to highlight just some of the outstanding emerging talent in the industry I’ve come across during my time here at CJLO. Cheers! 

1. Kalisway 

Seamlessly blending otherworldly groovy instrumentation with her unique high-pitched voice, Kalisway is bringing back funk music for every audience and inducing pure euphoria. 

2. RealestK 

Mysterious and emotional contemporary R&B encapsulates Toronto’s underground sound, scene, and influences. 

3. Eva Shaw

Producer prodigy whose unmatched finesse working with diverse genres and artists while maintaining her distinct sound has her positioned to work with the biggest names in the industry.

4. Ogi 

Your ultimate vocally and melodically stunning feel-good R&B/soul singer whose spectacular debut EP Monologues sets the stage for an unquestionably exciting future. 

5. Nate Husser

The man who’s going to put Montreal on the world stage for hip hop. 

6. DijahSB

Dance beats meet world-class raps—DijahSB’s an artist who’s perfected a formula just for them. 

7. Zach Zoya

The small-town Quebecois artist who knows no genre, boundaries, or limits—just excellence. 

8. Baby Rose

With a once-in-a-generation contralto voice that stops you dead in your tracks, reminiscent of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, Baby Rose is simply impossible to ignore. 

9. Chase Shakur

Perfectly married somber, dreamy, and impeccable vocals and production guarantee Chase Shakur will soon be one of the biggest names in R&B. 

10. Naomi Sharon

Naomi Sharon’s divine vocal timbre, stripped-down production, and palpable emotion remind us what alternative R&B means and everything it should strive to be.