Electronic Musician

DAVID STRICKLAND

Mentored by production legend Noel ‘Gadget’ Campbell, Grammy and JUNO award-winning audio engineer and producer David Strickland has been a crucial denominator behind the success of numerous ground-breaking acts in Toronto. Over the past two decades he’s elevated the work of seminal hip hop and R&B artists such as Pete Rock, EPMD, Method Man and Sade, and was mixing assistant to Drake’s charttopping debut album Thank Me Later.

Born and raised in Ontario, Strickland started as a b-boy, before evolving into the roles of DJ, MC, engineer and producer. Embracing his ancestral origins, Strickland has long sought to strengthen ties between hip hop and native music traditions by bringing artists together. Now, 25 years into his career, he’s ready to sit in the artist’s chair with the his latest album project Spirit of Hip Hop, showcasing the talents of indigenous MCs alongside his unique blend of mainstream rap rhythms.

You began as a b-boy, which I guess is a terminology that’s lost on young people today. What did that mode of expression mean to you?

I was an athlete so maybe it was just another form of expression. Hip hop is indigenous culture in a modern form and it was the first time I’d tapped into that sort of thing. The ties between hip hop and native music traditions show that the DJs are like the drummers, the MCs in hip hop are the storytellers, the b-boys are the dancers and the graffiti writers are like the sand painters.

Has modern hip hop moved too far from the genre’s origins?

Sure, but that’s always happened. It’s always evolved and always will. I love to make music and work with artists and there’s always going to be good music, bad music and lazy artists. There’s an

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