Some of you may know Maestro way back from the blazing days of “Let Your Backbone Slide” (from Symphony in Effect, 1989) which became the first number one hip-hop song in Canada, banked a Juno nomination, and held the spot as the top selling hip-hop single in Canada for over a decade.
Wes has always been a vocal advocate for cultivating and supporting Canadian hip-hop. This purpose bleeds through his entire discography, but perhaps most pointedly in the 1998 single “Stick to your vision” from his fifth studio album Built to Last (1998, Attic Records). It was a stroke of genius on part of Toronto producer 2 Rude, who used the The Guess Who’s 1968 track “These Eyes” to create one of the more quintessentially “Canadian” hip-hop tracks in existance. Re-contextualized with a breakbeat below Wes’s Northern emcee flow, the sample indexes rock n’ roll’s most famous unequivicolly “Canadian” band and the Canadian Rock tradition while illustratrating hip-hop’s place beside it. Aided by hip-hop’s art of sampling, “Stick To Your Vision (these eyes)” was a marriage between two entirely different cultures of music that both shared Canada as a common home.
“Stick To Your Vision” later became the title of Wes’s book which was released earlier this year. As the title suggests, it is an inspirational read that describes how far a personal vision can take you with a bit of faith. Like most modest Canadians he doesn’t out and say it, but sticking to his vision–and every effort that seemingly simple phrase requires– has made him one of the most important and historical figures in Canadian hip-hop.
Head over to Chapters in South London today between 1-4pm to have your copy signed by the man himself.