Marc Costanzo hasn’t been “frying on the bench slide in the park across the street” since selling 2 million copies of Len’s You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush in 1999, thanks to the ubiquitous summer hit “Steal My Sunshine.”

The Toronto songwriter and producer, who also discovered Sum 41, and has developed many other writers and artists, released subsequent Len albums in 2005 and 2012, and laughs when asked what he’s been up to in between.

“A lot,” he says, but doesn’t want to name names.  “It’s never served me well talking about all the things that I’ve done in the past with publishing. If you want to see what I’ve done, just come to the studio in Nashville and you can look at the gold records on the wall.”

“It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had.”

Costanzo’s interest and ownership of catalogue publishing rights totals more than 35 million albums sold, according to a press release about his new company, Inside Music Nashville. “We have about 10 songs that get placed a lot, but the most placements out of all our catalogue is ‘Steal My Sunshine,’” he says.

Most of his catalogue is with Universal, Sony, and Warner, he says.  He’s had music in Peter Rabbit The Movie; TV campaigns for Amazon (North America), Hampton Inn (worldwide), Hotpoint (U.K., Europe, Middle East, Japan), QVC (U.S., Canada), Tropicana (Canada), and Kinder Joy (N.A); plus South Park, Beat Shazam!, America’s Got Talent, Live with Kelly & Ryan, American Idol, Mr. Robot, American Dad, and Roswell: New Mexico.

Sunshine Don’t Stop

“Came here during coronavirus. Needed a smile on my face,” reads one comment under the video for Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” on YouTube, which has amassed 49 million plays since it was posted in late 2009, 10 years after its original release on the album You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush.

The song hasn’t “missed a million miles of fun” these two decades, getting syncs in everything from the movie Go in 1999 to more recent placements in South Park, American Dad, and a Tropicana commercial — “about 30 to 50 a year for the past five years,” says songwriter/producer Marc Costanzo, who shares vocals on the track with sister Sharon. “I haven’t had to say ‘No’ to anything. It’s generally just cool fun shit, all the summer commercials.”

While “Steal My Sunshine,” ranked No. 13 on the Top 50 One-hit Wonder List compiled in 2007 by Stylus magazine, and No. 13 on Rolling Stone’s 2013 Best Summer Songs of All Time, Costanzo himself is more a wonder of hits.

Note: the late Gregory Diamond, who died the year the song came out, received a posthumous credit on “Steal My Sunshine” for the use of its “More, More, More” sample.

Once signed by SOCAN’s current Chief Membership & Business Development Officer Michael McCarty, back when he helmed EMI Music Publishing Canada, Costanzo says, “Everything I do today is based on how Mike worked in 1995 to whenever he left EMI.

“He supported in ways that I, still, to this day, very rarely see. He would take chances, more than anybody I know. He was running a publishing company like a record company, like a management company, and there was a studio component that didn’t exist for anybody back then.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the Canada-U.S. border, Costanzo is at home in Toronto, working out of his second-floor waterfront studio on songs for the newly-formed Inside Music Nashville.  His new partner Kory Caudill, a producer, keyboardist, and arranger, works out of the same studio as him in Berry Hill, Tennessee, where they met. Matt Williams has been appointed General Manager, and Costanzo has brought along his long-time hip-hop and R&B production collaborator, Martin “Bucky” Seja.

“It’d be nice for people to know that people from two different countries with two different backgrounds are coming together,” says Costanzo.  “Kory is a country / bluegrass / jazz guy that’s from East Kentucky, Floyd County; he’s Appalachian, he’s Southern; he plays in [the multi-No.1 charting] Justin Moore Band. He and his crew all come from the South.

“I come from a pop, hip-hop and R&B direction, a style of pop music which is a lot of gear, a lot of electronics. We’re completely the opposite – except we have something in common, which is we do things our own way, and we saw in each other things that each of us don’t have.  We realized that,  together, we complete the picture of what we love to produce, which is country-pop, pop-country. Let’s bring all our experience in publishing, and in writing, and production, and join up with those guys, a lot of incredible musicians and producers on his side.

“The real conversation that I had with Kory is, I can be myself. I can be pop, hip-hop. We can all represent that kind of music, with Bucky and all my writers and my producers, and we don’t have to try to be country. I don’t write verse-lyrics. I’m not going to pretend I’m from Floyd County. I’m not going to pretend I’m from the South. And then he doesn’t have to pretend that he’s a pop guy or carries all the experience that I have. But together we can be ourselves.”

Just that day, Bucky wrote an instrumental and Costanzo the chorus, “a full-on R&B song,” says Costanzo. He played it to Caudill, who said it could be a country song.  Costanzo brings up “I Swear” as an example – a country hit for John Michael Montgomery and an R&B hit for All-4-One in the early ‘90s. “We’re going after his people and my people,” he says. “It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had.”

Klô Pelgag’s third album begins at what seemed to her, at the time she created it, to be the end of the road. Saddened by a major loss, and caught up in the whirlwind of a career that had become as demanding as it was successful, the singer-songwriter wrote the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (Our Lady of Seven Sorrows) album to exorcise her demons, and came out much stronger on the other side.

Klo Pelgag “An album captures you the way you are right now, and yet you still want it to be timeless. These two views are hard to reconcile, but I thrive on challenges,” says Klô Pelgag. Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs, her third album, took shape late last summer, when the artist was coming to the realization that, after L’alchimie des monstres and L’étoile thoracique, she was drawing a blank. She’d given her all, and was left only with a fear of things to come.

“Making an album and embarking on a 300-date tour is bad for your health,” says Pelgag. “Some people picture you travelling on this glamorous bus, where, in actual fact, seven or eight of you squeeze into a rented vehicle with stuff hanging over your heads. It’s exhausting.” Pelgag’s stories and images are realistic, because she takes the time to fully immerse herself in her own reality. “Touring was an endless road, and I was left with no mental space in which to do my own thinking.”

She ended up crashing, and then her creative power came back again in 2019. The year 2020 began with the birth of a little girl for Pelgag and her soulmate Karl Gagnon (aka Violett Pi) in mid-January, but in mid-February, her father passed away from a degenerative disease. Life was a rollercoaster, an then the pandemic set in. “I’d started missing him long before he actually left. He’d already been gone for a long time,” says Pelgag, who portrays that long goodbye in “La fonte,” a song from her new album, accompanied by a simple piano melody: Now, I’m asking you, let me go in the shadow of this body that’s no longer mine.

“It was a necessary song because it came out of the suffering I was carrying with me,” she says, “and it was very hard to accept. It’s the only song on this album that I kept simple. I didn’t want its meaning to be obscured.”

A new village

The album title is the name of a small village, a name that used to frighten Pelgag as a child, but that she learned to see in a brighter light. Like a real village, the artist’s third recording is different from her others. It was built in a familiar landscape, but everything in it is new. Each successive album is a new village that reminds us of a place where we’ve been before.

“I’m glad you see it that way,” Pelgag says, “because that’s exactly what I wanted to convey. When I put out my second album, people could hear traces from my first one, but I allowed my songs to evolve, when I performed them later on tour with my band. By the end of the tour, I already knew that I wanted to leave behind the strings that played a central part in L’étoile thoracique, and move toward something more grounded. I wanted to insert some violence and some fat into my sound. I had never before experienced such a need to express something.”

Sylvain Deschamps, her co-producer since her first album, is still the one who “receives” all her ideas. “Enjoying such significant musical collaborations is precious because, besides wanting to be a good performer, you have to be humble enough to be a conduit for other people’s ideas,” Pelgag explains. “What scares me the most always is the technical side. I can’t write or read music, but I have very sharp ears. Sylvain has greatly helped me feel stronger in everything I still don’t understand.”

Étienne Dupré, François Zaïdan, and Pete Pételle, her closest acolytes, are also seasoned musicians, part of the team that makes it possible for Pelgag to express herself. On the current album, Owen Pallett is credited for the string arrangements for “À l’ombre des cyprès” and “J’aurai les cheveux longs,” and also for the brass arrangements for “Soleil,” while Marianne Houle supervised all the string parts. Pelgag sees this album as an “accumulation,” something that kept growing during the intense period she was experiencing. “I hope that everybody can appreciate the work that went into the sound textures and movements that these people were able to create,” she says.

Sandwiched between to instrumental pieces at the beginning and the end of the album, Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs requires space and volume to be heard properly. Each listening brings out new gems. “Of course, I’d like people to listen to this album while smoking their pipes in front of a great sunset by the sea, or as they lie in a strawberry field with their mouths all reddened from pigging out, but I think the cool thing is that you can listen to it any way you want, and it still fits,” says Pelgag.

Pelgag’s third album is her most personal yet. After presenting the character Édelweiss in her previous release, she now introduces Rémora and Élise, two fictional characters who speak with as much strength as if they came out of 10-volume epic saga. “All these people are me, but they are not limited to me,” says Pelgag. “I enjoy taking a peek into myself from the outside. It allows me to be everything I want to be, and to say things I would be afraid of saying otherwise.”

The more one listens to the album, the more each story comes to life. Pelgag also has the knack of painting in full colour what has always seemed to be black and white. “Maybe I am pre-disposed [to that],” she laughs. “Writing that kind of songs is a form of letting go. When I’m writing, I know I‘m not going to judge myself, and this often is when an image will come to mind.”

After the fall

Although Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs came out of a personal setback, Pelgag isn’t about to wave a flag for mental health, believing that in many situations, “silence is best.” “I’m just a songwriter, and music that speaks of distress already plays a social role,” she says. “I’m singing about it, so I don’t have to talk about it too. You can go too far in getting artists to be spokespeople on behalf of this and that cause. Some people spend a lifetime taking post-doctorate studies in the kind of subjects that my songs are talking about. The microphone should be passed to them,” she says.

Admittedly, there are dark zones in Pelgag’s “seven sorrows,” particularly in the song “À l’ombre des cyprès,” where she’s asking to be buried. “Yes, it’s a suicidal song, even if it is a groovy one. But you know, I often talk about death, even if I do it with a smile,” she says. “The childlike illustration and the bright colours of the album cover for L’alchimie des monstres was taking us aboard a ship of contrasts that was asking us to put a name, a face, some sweetness ‘at the very top of the heart’s mast.’ Yes, I often talk about a deep unhappiness, and life always is a bit like that. There are days when you read what’s happening in the world, and you feel sorry for the world, and even pain in your own body. And then you go to the market and eat fresh strawberries, and think life is wonderful after all, it’s so beautiful. Someone stole a geranium pot from my porch last week, but at the same time, he fled carrying flowers, and I hope he will place it in his home and enjoy it,” she says with a mixture of resignation and amusement.

If “Rémora” is representative of Pelgag’s musical abilities at the present time, practically all of the new album’s other songs demonstrate her original craft, and the creative way in which she links together the songs. “I never could have anticipated all the events that drove me to create this album,” she explains in a nutshell.

In the video explaining the genesis of the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs album, the village she’s talking about is pictured “before” and “after,” and the earlier state is far more disturbing than the sweet reality that follows. Did she place her album before, or after? “For me, the album is a long bridge between the two. It’s a process album, a rite of passage album,” says Pelgag.. “It’s both dark and transparent, it hurts, but it’s freeing. It helped me get rid of lots of crutches, unease, and anguish.”

Klô Pelgag has always known that her life as an artist wasn’t going to be easy, “but it didn’t turn out to be hard for the reasons they gave me,” she recalls. “For a long time, I needed my self-confidence to be reinforced. But right now, I’m moving in the direction of a kind of self-confidence that comes from within. I’m not about to become too complacent, though, because constant self-doubt has its good sides.”

Keeping up with the Alaclair Ensemble constellation of music isn’t easy, with the release of 10 official albums as a collective, and of some 60 solo or sub-group recordings over a two-decade period. As the musicians celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of their first album 4,99 – an essential piece of Québec rap history – we endeavour to trace the family history of Alaclair Ensemble and its multifarious releases, with the assistance of band members KNLO and Eman.

Alaclair EnsembleAlong with their colleagues, these two rappers recently went through the tedious process of trying to draw up a full list of band member releases. “Afterward,” Eman admits, referring to the poster, “we realized that we’d left a lot of things out. It shows how big a project Alaclair really is. There are so many branches that even we can’t keep up.”

Originally, Alaclair Ensemble was just one of the myriad projects launched over the years by Eman, KNLO, and Maybe Watson – along with Mash, a rapper and producer who played a key role in the band’s creation and musical direction, before moving to the distant lands of Upper Canada a few years ago. “Mash used to say that we were the best three emcees he knew,” Eman recalled. “He’s the guy who brought us together, calling us the ‘Alaclair Allstars.’”

After 4,99 came out, Vlooper replaced Mash as the band’s DJ and main producer, while Robert Nelson started playing a larger role onstage, despite the fact that his contribution to the album had been somewhat limited. The same went for Claude Bégin, who housed the band in his mythical apartment studio at 1036 Cartier Street in Québec City.

In between the collective’s (numerous) releases, each artist was doing his own thing, without any concern that the band might risk imploding. Instead, each new solo venture fed the group as a whole. “We never had a closed approach to the band,” KNLO explains. “We’re all strong and independent people. Basically, we all came from different backgrounds, so everyone has always contributed what he wanted, even to Alaclair tracks. I guess it’s a kind of freedom. Everyone’s motivated by his own personal grace and passion.”

What about inspiration, then? “There were times at first when I was afraid it might be running out, but that was never the case, as it turned out… I grew up in a religious family where everyone was screaming all the time. Whatever phase I’m going through, or project I’m working on, the vibe is still the same. The challenge is more a matter of technique, of finish,” says KNLO.

This is precisely where the band’s powers fit together, some members being guided by a more intuitive approach to music, and others being more analytical. “When I get stalled on a piece, I can send it to Claude, for instance,” the rapper continues. “We all have our own individual strengths and tastes. Some are more roots/soul/funk people, like me, while others are more electro/house/techno/trap oriented.”

Over a 10-year career, the band has touched on every possible rap style, and flirted with funk, folk and electronic music, and pop ballads. “We’ve never been afraid of moving all over the map,” says Eman, who’s just released a solo album (1036) that took everyone by surprise.

4,99 (2010)

KNLO: “That was the start of an adventure that’s now supporting a bunch of children. It’s pretty edgy on a musical level, but on a social level, I’m proud of what this represents for us. It’s a great brain bubble.”

Eman: “It’s an introduction to a lot of things, an opening to brand new musical forms with the help of my friends – who, to this day, are the greatest musicians I’ve ever dealt with. That album was an education for me. It’s my college graduation.”

Musique bas-canadienne d’aujourd’hui (2011)

KNLO: “We wanted to make a triple-album featuring all our different vibes, a bit like OutKast did. It shows we don’t give a damn about labels, and that Alaclair can be anything we like. You never know what to expect.”

Eman: “I feel a very strong connection to that album, to that patchwork. That was back in the days when Ogden and I used to chill together a lot. We used to brainstorm at his place during the day, and when Claude was through recording with Karim [Ouellet], we went to his studio to record.”

AMERICA (2012)

KNLO: “That was Vlooper fucking around in the studio. He’s a bright guy. At the time, he was inspired by Madlib, and the idea was to make an album very quickly, in a single day.”

Eman: “It’s partly a remix of Le roé c’est moé (one of the three Musique bas-canadienne d’aujourd’hui volumes). You have to view this as Vlooper playing a videogame.”

Dans l’south du Bas (2012)

KNLO: “It’s a small rural trap awakening, thanks to “Vire de bow,” among other cuts. It’s one of my favourite album covers.”

Eman: “We were trying to use somewhat slower BPMs (beats-per-minute). To be honest, I don’t remember much about it. It coincided with the time Vlooper used to chill quite a bit at 1036 [Claude Bégin’s apartment studio on Cartier Street in Québec City]. It’s a bit random.”

Les maigres Blancs d’Amérique du Noir (2013)

KNLO: “It was the first time we felt we were really trying to blow it to bits with an album. Prior to that, it was more like natural, everyday chilling. I’m still not sure how successful we were.”

Eman: “We wanted to make something consistent, but it’s still pretty much like a pizza with lots of different flavours. It was our first experience being together in a songwriting cottage.”

Toute est impossible (2014)

KNLO: “For Les maigres Blancs, we’d been pretty much on fire, but this time, the mood was more ice-cold. We were all a bit more inside our own heads, caught up in our adult-life torments. The energy was somewhat less in overdrive.”

Eman: “I wasn’t the most cheerful guy in the world when we recorded that. I had become a dad, and I was less available to the band psychologically. When I came out of the cottage, let me tell you, I wasn’t too sure of the outcome.”

Les frères cueilleurs (2016)

KNLO: “The machine was well-oiled. We were hungry. All we had to do was repeat the same recipe we used before, but using all of our experience this time.”

Eman: “That time, we really felt like blowing it to bits. I had just released XXL on 7ième Ciel Records, so I talked the guys into releasing the album on a label, which we had never done before. From the outset, we knew we wanted something more cohesive, less patchwork. We had an amazing time in our house with a private lake in the middle of the woods.”

Le sens des paroles (2018)

KNLO: “We were looking for a balance similar to that of Frères cueilleurs between the various tracks, somewhere between ‘serious’ and ‘not serious.’ The album’s title [“The Meaning of Words” in English] says a lot about us. We have more and more words on the odometer, and the writing process is becoming increasingly natural. We’re not asking too many questions about the meaning of what we’re saying. It’s like playing saxophone: not every note has to have a specific meaning.”

Eman: “We followed the same regimen of creativity as with Les Frères, except that, this time, we did it in two segments. There was also a slightly trashier cottage interlude where we indulged. We had the time of our lives.”

AMERICA Vol. 2 (2019)

KNLO: “That was a road record made between Paris, France, and Québec’s lower St. Lawrence River region. We’d now been performing 70-plus shows a year for the past two years, and there wasn’t as much time or desire for us to rent a cottage. It was done in a rougher frame of mind. Just major spitting.”

Eman: “We recorded wherever we could, as often as possible. We could have used our two-week annual vacation to go to a cottage, but we thought we’d rather be with our families than being part of a puppet show.” [laughter]

Capitaine Canada (2020)

KNLO: “Capitaine Canada is the band’s detractor. Ideally, he should become our partner, but he is a dangerous man… And he has no desire to stop.”

Eman: “That was done after the pandemic had broken out, when we could no longer get together. I didn’t follow the brainstorming at all, but my understanding is that Capitaine Canada is our enemy. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware of that character’s existence before the project was released. The guys asked me to contribute on a verse, and I found out that my voice had been tampered with.”

Related (solo or sub-group) projects by six band members


aka KenLo Le Narrateur / KenLo
Initially known in the underground as KenLo (or KenLo Le Narrateur) for three embryonic, yet quite promising mixtapes, KNLO quickly polished his flow and sharpened his pen to become one of Québec hip-hop’s most well-rounded players, developing both powerful rhymes and original flows that were progressively more advanced and impressive. Long jeu and Sainte-Foy, his two official solo albums, epitomize a rich two-decade rap career without a single misstep.

Realicism 1.0 (2004)
Restrospectre 2.0 (2005)
Flattebouche (2007)
Long jeu (2016)
Sainte-Foy (2019)

Maybe Watson
Originally from Saint-Laurent, a Montréal West neighbourhood where English is spoken everywhere, Maybe Watson is one of the Québec rappers who can best master the subtleties of Frenglish. A member of the Montréal rap scene for nearly 20 years, this artist first became known for the Maybe Watson et les copains mixtape, which brought together many of the talents that abounded in the underground during the 2000s. With two solo albums behind him (Maybe Watson and Enter the Dance, released eight years apart), Watson also built his colourful and whimsical persona with several humorous EPs and mixtapes.

Maybe Watson et les copains (2005)
Maybe Watson (2011)
Le maxi 100timental (2011)
Maybe in Love (2011)
Maybe Watson Remix (2012)
Dreak (2013)
Noël Chanté (2013)
Enter the Dance (2019)

aka NRV Loopa
Since starting out with the beat-maker Bueller on LNG Mixtape, a hidden treasure that’s still available on Soundclick­ (tracks 13 to 29), Vlooper has become one of the most creative and original producers of the Limoilou district, the sacred ground Québec City’s rap scene. He came into prominence at the end or the first decade of the 2000s, both as a solo artist (on the Neon Blaster triptych) and along with the American rapper Homeless Royalty (on the Big Gun Music and Return of the King albums). Acting as a DJ when Alaclair Ensemble was performing its first shows, he eventually became the band’s main producer.

Neon Blaster Mercure (2008)
Neon Blaster Venus (2009)
Neon Blaster Water Planet (2010)
COPYCAT (a Dilla Tribute) (2011)
Snowloops (2012)

Claude Bégin
As the inseparable partner of Eman, with whom he has been piling on projects (Northern Corp., Accrophone, Movèzerbe) for more than two decades, Claude Bégin made his mark as a rapper, singer, composer, producer, and arranger in Québec City. A jack-of-all-trades, he helped build Karim Ouellet’s sound, a catchy, organic folk-pop signature he later claimed for his own two solo albums.

Les magiciens (2015)
Bleu nuit (2018)

Robert Nelson
aka Ogden
As the top dog of the digital glossary and strategy that helped Alaclair Ensemble stand out on the Québec rap scene from 2010 on, Robert Nelson is best known for his charisma, his energy onstage, his frantic flows, and the reclamation of the Lower Canadian nation’s historical references so pervasive in his work. The band’s youngest member, Nelson made a major breakthrough last year with his first album release, Nul n’est roé en son royaume, on which he partially distances himself from his feisty persona.

Nul n’est roé en son royaume (2019)

Eman has been part of the Québec hip-hop scene for the past 20 years. Along with Claude Bégin, whom he met as a child, this rapper made his mark as part of the Northern Corp. band, just before having some success with Accrophone. At the turn of the 2010 decade, he renewed his flow and diversified his influences by joining Movèzerbe and Alaclair Ensemble, two bands that gave his career fresh blood. Following the critical success of his first two albums with Vlooper, the singer-songwriter finally released an entirely self-produced first solo EP in 2019.

Maison (2019)
1036 (2020)

Rednext Level
Bringing together Robert Nelson, Maybe Watson, and Tork, Rednext Level is a clever and irresistible trap, cloud-rap, hip-house, and pop mixture. Onstage, Tork is replaced with DJ Tiestostérone, who is also behind the Rapides et dangereux remix album.

Argent légal (2016)
Rapides et dangereux (2017)

Eman X Vlooper
aka Eman X Vloopa
In a genre slightly more somber than that of Alaclair Ensemble, Eman and Vlooper joined forces on an EP and two high-quality albums released on 7ième Ciel Records.

E.M.M.A.N.U.E.L. (2012)
XXL (2014)
LA JOIE (2017)

Robert Nelson X Kaytradamus
Right before achieving global recognition under the stage name of Kaytranada, the Longueuil (Québec) producer Kaytradamus worked with Robert Nelson on Les filles du roé, a memorable EP containing striking beats.

Les filles du roé (2012)

Monk.E & KenLo
As a producer, KenLo re-modelled some of the best songs on Monk.E’s Entre Mektoub et Autodestruction album, on the Mektoub revisité EP, which was released four years later. The two K6A colleagues concretized their chemistry on the Destin et beyond… album, issued a short time later.

Mektoub revisité (2012)
Destin et beyond… (2012)

Caro Dupont & KenLo Craqnuques
aka KenLo & Cao / O2 / Canaw Cocotte & Cocotte Pondu
At the intersection of jazz, funk, soul, and hip-hop, the artistic encounter between KenLo and his girlfriend, the rapper, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Caro Dupont, bloomed into four releases known for their warm, invigorating musical direction.

La vie est un miracle (2011)
Booogillon Maison (Un) (2012)
Sur les terres d’Armand Viau (2013)
Multifruits (2018)

Vlooper & Modlee
Halfway between neo-soul and futuristic R&B, the reunion between Vlooper and the excellent singer Modlee (his girlfriend) thrives on penetrating basslines and catchy rhymes.

Digital Flowers (2009)
AnaloG LovE (2010)
Sunwalk (2012)
Queendom (2017)

A few months before Alaclair’s arrival, Claude Bégin, Eman, and KNLO joined Boogat, Les 2 Tom, Karim Ouellet, and King Abid as part of Movèzerbe. The octet’s only album, Dendrophile, opened new horizons for Québec rap with an organic aesthetic, coloured with neo-funk, soul, reggae, folk, and Latin music influences.

Dendrophile (2009)

KenLo Craqnuques
aka KenLo Croqnote
Inspired by J Dilla’s productivity and exploratory approach, KenLo Craqnuques gave a brand new impetus to Québec’s hip-hop production, thanks to the series of colourful beat tapes that began in 2007. Over the years, his de-constructed electronic signature paved the way for more accessible soul, funk, and house ambiences.

Noir (2007)
Bleu (2008)
Mauve (2008)
Orange (2009)
Rose (2009)
Cailloux germés (2010)
Brun (2010)
Soucoupe Volante pour MUTEK (2011)
Turquoise (2011)
Forêt_Boréale_Mixte (2012)
Tomates (2012)
Chaude chaleur (2013)
Huscletao (2014)
Rue Sicard (2014)
Wheels (2016)

K6A brings together graffiti artists, beat-makers, and rappers including two (Maybe Watson and KNLO) who joined Alaclair Ensemble. Also including OstiOne, SevDee, FiligraNn, Monk.E, Jam, Smilé Smahh, and P.Dox, this multi-disciplinary collective was one of the pioneering groups of the Québec rap renewal of the 2010s.

Tour de France (by Monk.E, Maybe Watson and SevDee) (2007)
Vente de garage (2008)
Ménage du printemps (2008)
Polalbum (2011)
Soucoupe_volante_001 (by SevDee, KenLo, Jam and Smilé) (2011)
Kosséça!?! (2013)

KenLo & Vlooper
KenLo and Vlooper, two of Québec City’s most talented beatmakers, learned a lot together while working on deconstructed lo-fi beat tapes, a somewhat avant-garde aesthetic at the time. Their first effort, Veggie Loops, was created with Bueller, a producer who was part of the LnG duo along with Vlooper.

Veggie Loops (2006)
Bullesbubbles (2009)
Bulles.Bubbles.II (2009)

In the middle of the 2000s so far, Accrophone gave Québec City’s rap scene a new momentum with its warm textures, folk-pop influences, and astute lyrics.

Duo du balcon (2005)
J’thème (2007)
Beat Session vol. 1 (2010)

Northern Corp.
Northern Corp., a collective directed by producer, arranger, and Les 2 Tom duo member Tom Lapointe, put Accrophone on the map thanks to the P.I.B. compilation, which was released by HLM Records in 2003 when Claude and Eman hadn’t turned 18 yet.

P.I.B. (2003)