Spotify's "Northern Bars" playlist curates some of Canada's finest hip-hop. In a nod to the playlist, we'll be showcasing some of the rising talent that's featured. Today we continue the photo diary series with help from Toronto rapper Sean Leon. 

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Toronto rapper and producer Sean Leon has yet to fall susceptible to the poet's fear of death. Quite the opposite. Instead, an optimistic lifeblood seems to flow through him. Never far from a loyal entourage, the IXXI Initiative founder has managed to deviate from the trajectory of his oft-referenced Narcissus; unlike the ill-fated Greek icon, Leon's will to live remains very much intact. He seems to derive pleasures from life's simple joys. A clear blue sky. Camaraderie. Nostalgia. Beer in red plastic cups. 

The twenty-seven year old Scarborough native has much to celebrate. With his thirtieth birthday still on the horizon, Leon can look back at a prolific run, with five full-length studio albums in his repertoire. His strong discography has helped solidify his place in the Toronto pantheon, and collaborations with WondaGurl and Daniel Caesar ("Matthew In The Middle") have established him to be a worthwhile team player, not unlike the basketball stars he so respects. For insight into Leon's craft, his song "Winter" has been a fixture on Spotify's "Northern Bars" playlist for a minute; peep that below.

Defined by an almost classical appreciation of art, Leon's creative sensibilities are evidenced through his song titles, which often segue from one concept to the next, spanning interconnected narratives. His appreciation for creativity remains a driving force in his life. In the midst of staging an elaborate pop-up art piece titled "Up Out The Basement," Leon happened to share an inspiring insight into his process:

"I wanted to show people that it doesn't take much to make these records, either, if you're committed. It doesn't take million-dollar budgets and co-signs. It doesn't take powerful labels and tastemakers and influencers. It just takes somebody with a drive and commitment to being creative."

It's evident that his methodology has worked wonders. Behind the abstract concepts and occasionally hazy musical aesthetics is a young artist simply basking in the simple pleasures of a creative lifestyle. Case in point, his photography.


I THINK YOU'VE GONE MAD

Toronto has come to emerge as a hip-hop hotbed. As such, many different artists have become informed by their location in various ways. It would appear that Sean Leon is not impervious to this phenomenon. After all, the self-professed King Of Suburbia has come a long way from the basement. 

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KING OF SUBURBIA

Sean Leon seeks what we all seek come summertime. Fair weather and pleasant company. Never far from a close-knit ground of friends, Leon's day in the life is charming in its simplicity.

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LIQUID COURAGE

What was it like?
Last night when you were drunk and calling my phone
The stars were white and the wine in your glass was darker than the night

It was darker than the night fall

- Sean Leon, "Liquid Courage"

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