"Hope you niggas like this shit," Lil Berete says in the intro of his new banger "War Ready," before quickly doing an about-face: "Actually I don't give a fuck if you guys don't like it, 'cause I'm still the hottest in the Dot." It's a pretty bold claim, and one sure to rankle, but nevertheless a sign that the young Regent Park rapper is coming for 2021's throat. Since dropping his debut mixtape Icebreaker in 2018, Berete has been catching international attention—even signing with UK grime imprint New Gen—with his melody-heavy bars and unique style that melds the Toronto sound with African and Caribbean influences. Already starting the year strong with "War Ready" and "Black Heart," his underrated link-up with Tizzy Stackz, the rapper's looking to keep flooding the streets with new music. He's gearing up to drop his next project, Icebreaker 2, and has a collab with the late King Von in the vault. —Alex Nino Gheciu

Large play button icon