Calling upon a lifetime of experience, Toronto rapper FenaxiZ vividly depicts his hometown with a candid honesty. While some glorify the violence that plagues the city and others hail Toronto as a tourist-friendly destination, FenaxiZ instead offers a metropolis of “students, hustlers, everyday citizens, hard-working immigrants tryna earn dividends” as he guides his audience through areas such as Kensington Market, the Financial district, St. Jamestown, and Rosedale. He finally concludes after seeing “the good, the bad, the beauty, the ugly,” that “it is what it is and this the real Toronto.”
“The Real Toronto” is produced by AmiR and is the sixth single/video off “Vintage,” the first full-length album by FenaxiZ.
FenaxiZ – White Man’s Burden video featuring JLatte
Every June 12, Filipinos across the globe commemorate their homeland’s declaration of independence from Spanish occupation in 1898. Amidst the lumpia, tinikling dances, and street parades, FenaxiZ humbly entreats his kasamas worldwide to pause for a moment of reflection and acknowledge a past mired with bloodshed, subjugation, and resistance.
Borrowing its title from the Rudyard Kipling poem about the Filipino-American war, “White Man’s Burden” is a critical analysis of the widespread effects that imperialism has wreaked upon a 7000-island archipelago once known as “The Pearl Of The Orient.” From a Labour Export Policy that seperates parents from children to the internalized racism that fuels identity issues of the youth, FenaxiZ covers many pressing issues that today’s Filipinos face; yet, he is also aware of the incomplete picture he paints as he muses, “and this rap ain’t even scratching the surface of our collective experience.”
FenaxiZ states, “To properly capture 600 years of a country’s history in a 5 minute song is impossible, but I hope my words can mobilize my audience to walk away with a desire to educate themselves on the issues. I want us to truly think about our current situation, discuss amongst ourselves, and question if we are, in fact, an independent republic. If my lyrics can instill some pride and provide a stepping stone to a Filipino youth’s journey of understanding his or her identity, then I’ve done my job.”
And while the image may be bleak, FenaxiZ adds, “If history has taught us anything, it is that Filipinos are survivors; we are a resilient people. From Lapu-Lapu to the People Power Revolution, Filipinos have resisted oppression from internal and external forces and we will continue to do so until we take our rightful place as a respected, self-sufficient, first-class prosperous nation. It may not happen in my lifetime or the next, but it will happen one day.”
“White Man’s Burden” is produced by The Quarter Inch Kings and features Joshua “JLatte” Lopez on guitar. It will appear on the upcoming FenaxiZ album Vintage, slated for a July 2012 release.
The Toronto scene is arguably Canada’s most prominent, with many artists gaining the attention and respect of more than just Canada itself. Though Swollen Members have outsold many, Toronto seems to have a scene where Hip Hop is more so supported than further West.
As a Filipino in rap, and a Canadian, Fenaxiz faces a number of challenges and hurdles in order to succeed how he aims to. But, after independently releasing “The Audiobiography,” Fenaxiz is poised to release “The Strongest Link” mix CD, and even has a cameo in the upcoming film “From Wimp To Pimp,” he’s well on his way.