PROMO: The Sorority Have Pledged A New Future For Canadian Hip-Hop

The Sorority are redefining the Canadian hip-hop scene…

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It’s been two years since Keysha Freshh, Phoenix Pagliacci, Lex Leosis and Haviah Mighty first met when they were asked to participate in a cypher to celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a totally appropriate origin story for the group that has since become a family, a sisterhood and a movement known as The Sorority, and who is slowly but surely redefining the Canadian hip-hop scene. “People thought we were already a group cause of our chemistry,” says Keysha of their beginnings, “and we were like, ‘Yo, that’s the first time most of us have met each other.’ From there we knew we had to form this collective because people were asking for it.”

In 2018 hip-hop is a global force, and is the fastest growing genre in Canada according to Nielsen. But representation for women, especially as artists and emcees (especially north of the border), is still lacking. It’s a responsibility that The Sorority has taken upon them with determination to make a real change, and to put women back into the story that they’ve traditionally been left out of, despite the significant contributions made by women—both in front and behind the scenes.

PROMO: The Sorority Have Pledged a New Future for Canadian Hip-Hop

“Canada as a whole has a long way to go in recognizing the females that contributed to this culture we call hip-hop,“ says Phoenix. “Oftentimes in our city, people forgot about the legends that paved the way—Michie Mee, Eternia, Tara Chase. It’s a culture that is so heavily male-dominated that even females forget to pay homage to our own sisters. I think we’ve got a long way to go and Toronto being one of the biggest cities there’s an even bigger responsibility here. My role in the Sorority is to speak out, and I know we can put ourselves back in the story where we belong.”

The group recently released their debut album Pledge, the first two singles of which have landed them on Spotify’s Northern Bars playlist. A spot on the playlist has become a bit of a rite of passage for Canadian emcees; the featured artists represent the gamut of Canadian talent, from up and coming (Speng Squire, Clairmont The Second, Pressa) to superstars (Kardinal Offishall, Tory Lanez and yes, Drake). Haviah sees milestones like these as significant in the group’s growth but also her own confidence. “It’s amazing to be noticed by these platforms, both Canadian and international,” she says of the look. “Seeing other artists get this type of recognition has inspired me and my creativity just by knowing that it’s possible: I used to think you had to be in Los Angeles or New York for people to care about your music.”

Promo: The Sorority Have Pledged a New Future for Canadian Hip-Hop

The four come from performance backgrounds as individuals prior to forming the collective, which gives them a unique advantage as they continue to develop as a group but also in their solo careers. “I’m really big on mastering my craft. I want to be a better lyricist, a better writer; I want to create new flows and do things that people haven’t done before,” says Lex. “It’s really cool to be in this group with my sisters cause everyone comes from a different background and a different perspective in hip-hop so we kind of play off each other and learn new things from each other.” While the group is already working on new music, the four are also still actively working on solo projects, and Phoenix is putting in triple the work as one half of TRP.P, with producer Truss.

While you can’t argue the influence of artists like Drake and The Weeknd on Canada’s worldwide recognition as a hip-hop power, The Sorority wants to make sure that women will never again be left out of the conversation. “When I think of hip-hop, female and Canada, there isn’t really a clear, single picture that comes to mind—yet,” says Haviah. “I think that between all of us, and us in The Sorority, we can change that.”

The Sorority Have Pledged a New Future for Canadian Hip-Hop

Listen to Spotify’s Northern Bars playlist now

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