Montreal’s known more for its solitudes than scenes, but that doesn’t mean the city is a bilingual bucket full of fighting crabs. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also the special sauce that goes on Montreal rap’s steamé hot dog. To an outsider, the lack of interlocking parts may look like a lack of cohesion. To locals, that’s how things have always been, and while there’s no trademark sound to use as a springboard, there’s a conviviality below the surface to match the outward competitiveness.

Rappers in the city have long said they’re next or something to that effect, and it’s a fool’s errand to wait around for rising tides. Montreal’s best artists are taking matters into their own hands and worrying more about honing their crafts than seeking clout or riding a wave. As the city actually inches towards producing bona fide stars, the city’s emcees have arguably never cared less. It’s a liberating feeling, and it’s opening up the creative dams. The quantity and quality has never been better.

Forget who’s on the cusp, here’s a mere sampling of who’s popping in the 514-450-438 right now.