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canada is hip now

written by: andrew brennan and david conti

styling by: samuel yeung

When it comes looking to the past, a “wise” man once said, “Let us be rid of it, once and for all. Come on, Mr. Frodo.” But then I remember Dave Chappelle once telling me that sometimes you have to race. What do either of those things really mean? Essentially nothing other than this time we’re breaking the rules. Let’s travel back in time and take a look at the big winners of 2015.

So what was the biggest win of 2015? Was it Holly Holm’s knockout of the previously unstoppable force known as Ronda Rousey? How about the Golden State Warriors dominating Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA Finals? Or maybe you’re thinking it was the trouncing of the New York Mets by the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. All fine answers, but still wrong. The biggest win of 2015? That’s easy. It was Canadian music artists versus everyone else.

Canada completely owned the music scene in 2015. If they were a sports team, they would be the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, if that Bulls team had three Michael Jordans. Canada is home to not only three of the biggest music artists of last year, but arguably three of the biggest popular culture icons as well.

King Of The 6: Drake


Let’s start with the artist formerly known as Wheelchair Jimmy. Drake basically broke the internet on October 19 when he released the video for Hotline Bling.

Is there really any proper way to introduce the 6 God? Just like he did in 2014, and 2013 before that, Drake ensured his name was in everyone’s mouth in 2015.

What Drake did in his Hotline Bling video would have probably ruined the career of almost any other hip-hop artist. The turtleneck sweater, the minimal look of the video, and of course the dancing. It was a parody waiting to be made. But somehow, as he always seems to do, Drake came out on top.

He teamed up with rapper Future to create What a Time to be Alive and then dropped one of the biggest songs of the year Hotline Bling..

The video now has around 400 million views, and the song held a spot in top five on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks. You can hear it playing in essentially any club from Oshawa to Toronto, and see professional athletes like Mark Ingram and Justin Tucker celebrate touchdowns and field goals with those infamous dance moves.

His reach stretches well past the music realm. In 2015, Drake had athletes hitting the Hotline Bling dance.

You can hear it playing in essentially any club from Oshawa to Toronto...

During the summer, another rapper named Meek Mill called out Drake for having a someone else write his lyrics for him. This caused a rift in the entire rap and the internet community. While Meek continued to call out Drake through Twitter. It was Drake who follow through with two back to back diss

tracks calling back out on Meek. With no response in Meek’s part other than more tweets from him, the Internet mostly agreed that Drake won on this beef. To add more salt to the wound, the second track made it to No 21 in Billboard’s Hot 100.

He found the time to ruin Meek Mill’s career and He turned a Toronto city councilor into an internet celebrity. Below is the song called: "Back To Back".

Don’t expect Drake’s momentum to slow down any time soon either. He’s set to coach Team Canada in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in Toronto on February 12, and rumors are his highly anticipated album Views from the 6 won’t be too far behind.

He’s made Toronto sports “cool” to like again and spent the entire year teasing us with his upcoming album Views from the 6.

Drake was once again one of the biggest music artists in the world last year, but if you didn’t know that before and If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.

World Heavyweight Pop Music
Champion: Justin Bieber


So after all of that, who could have been bigger than Drake? Well, Sorry if you still haven’t realized this kid is a star, but it is of course Justin Bieber.

He just so happens to be the most followed male on instagram.

He had a massive 2015, capped off by the release of his fourth studio album Purpose. He went head-to-head with pop powerhouses One Direction, and smashed them on the Billboard 200 in the first week of their same-week releases.

Purpose was the fifth biggest album of 2015. The Boxing Day edition of the Billboard Hot 100 saw Canadians occupying spots two through eight, with Bieber holding three of those on his own.

Purpose debuted at number one with 649-thousand equivalent album units, while Made in the A.M. by One Direction could only muster 459-thousand units at the two spot. 2015 saw Bieber pull a complete 180 after multiple years defined by controversy and bad press. It’s fair to say that he’s back in a big way, and isn’t slowing down.

Unlike Drake, Bieber hadn’t been the most popular music artist in the past few years. He had drawn criticism for some of his antics. But he pulled a complete 180 last year, changed his sound and look, and has won fans over once again.

The only people Bieber needs to say sorry to is his competition.

From the Underground to
the Penthouse: The Weeknd


The biggest Canadian music artist of 2015 was The Weeknd. He was everywhere, almost literally. The man who unofficially has the best hair in Hollywood was the headliner for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

So you’re probably sitting there and wondering who could have had a bigger year than those two popular culture giants? Well, in 2015, everyone was living for The Weeknd. He had two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills. Those songs were first and second on the Billboard charts for the week of September 26.

He had two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100. In fact, those songs were first and second on the charts for the week of September 26 and then he became the 12th artist or band in history to replace his own song as number one on the charts.

His influence transcended music and moved into movies...

His song Earned It for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey peaked at number three, and is nominated for an Oscar. He headline the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, performed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and unofficially had the best hair of 2015.

His influence transcended music and moved into movies, as his song Earned It from the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is nominated for an Oscar and he even became a Halloween costume for some, like comedian Aziz Ansari.

The Weeknd has gone from releasing free mixtapes and featuring on Drake’s albums to running the charts, selling out stadiums and becoming a star in his own right.

In 2015, everyone was living for The Weeknd.

New Kid on the Block: Shawn Mendes
Here to Stay: Alessia Cara

Pickering & Brampton

This isn’t even the full extent to the dominance the Canadian music scene displayed in 2015 .Shawn Mendes had a massive year with his multiple chart-topping hits and Alessia Cara broke out in a big way, showing us she’s Here to stay.

His hit single Stitches reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been on the charts for 36 weeks. And her song Here reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.

At 15, Mendes became the youngest artist to land a debut single in the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100 with his first hit Life of the Party. He was recently named to Forbes 30 Music Artists Under 30 list, and has announced his own world tour. Not bad for a kid from Pickering.

Alessia Cara took a similar path as Mendes and little known Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber. She’s gone from recording covers to having her own songs covered.

He was recently named to Forbes
30 Music Artists
Under 30 list...
Not bad for
a kid from

Alessia Cara buddied up to both Taylor Swift and Drake.

The popularity of her next single could determine the future of this young pop sensation.

During the final week of 2015, the Boxing Day edition of the Billboard Hot 100 saw Canadian artists occupying positions two through eight.

For Those Who
Don't Want to Read


The Canadian music scene took over last year, and their momentum is sure to carry into the future. They currently hold nine of the top 15 spots on the Billboard charts and show no signs of slowing down.

Canada owned the Billboard Hot 100 in the latter half of 2015. 31 songs by Canadian artists reached the top 40, and nine snatched a spot in the top 10.

Where Are U Now, What Do You Mean?, Sorry and Love Yourself were mega-hits from Justin Bieber.

Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills put The Weeknd on the world stage.

Hotline Bling by Drake, Stitches by Shawn Mendes and Here by Alessia Cara all held spots in the top 10 and continue to get an incredible amount of play.

The combination of youth and diversity in genres is sure to guarantee you hear about these artists for many years to come. And if you’ve made it this far and are still wondering why “wise” was in quotations at the top, it’s because the real name of Sam from Lord of the Rings was Samwise Gamgee.