Lil Berete

Last September, 17-year-old Toronto based rapper Lil Berete made his debut with a single titled “Turn Up.” The visual was a fitting introduction for his official arrival on the Toronto underground scene: stuffed into a hallway of the Regent Park housing projects that he calls home, and surrounded by his neighborhood crew STN, Lil Berete sported a hoodie with “State Of Mind” spread across his chest. Two months to the day, Lil Berete reappeared to drop his second single “Real” featuring fellow Toronto rapper Acerrr. Flanked by his STN crew, this time wearing a T-shirt with “Local Trap Star” laminated across his chest, Lil Berete declares in the hook of the single: “I’m Keeping It Real.” For a kid that seemingly appeared out of nowhere, Lil Berete’s singles immediately resonated and quickly became word of mouth street anthems across his city.

With his distinctive voice, raw talent, dynamic flow and a measured duality of confidence and vulnerability, it makes sense that Lil Berete cites Akon, T-Pain, and Young Thug as his sonic influences. Combining his own gritty Toronto-fused slang with the influence of his mother’s music and art from her homeland of Guinea, Berete quickly created his own unique lane in Toronto's burgeoning underground rap scene. With just two songs to his name, “Turn Up” and “Real,” Berete amassed hundreds of thousands of views in weeks, and word of his music began to spread cross continent.

Lil Berete has embraced his role of raconteur of the daily life in Regent Park, a Toronto neighbourhood often divided by gang violence and misrepresented in the media. At the top of 2018, Lil Berete, alongside his STN crew - a now unified group of Regent Park’s once opposing Southside and Northside crews - returned with two companion tracks: “Southside” followed by “Northside.”  Released as a vivid depiction of the unity that him and his STN crew stand to represent, the two tracks don’t shy away from the hardness of the streets, but Lil Berete’s wily use of melody leaves you feeling hope for a brighter future.

While Lil Berete’s second single “Real” featured Northside rapper Acerr, for his latest single “No Make Up” Lil Berete rounds out the crew with a feature from Southside rapper JoEazy.  Lil Berete again teamed up with director King Bee (Southside, Northside, Real) for the music video for the single, which candidly captures Lil Berete and STN in the neighbourhood they call home.

Now with a succession of singles to his name and a mixtape dropping later this summer, Lil Berete has cemented his status as the hottest kid on the underground. A dreamer and a poet for the streets, Lil Berete is poised to become Toronto’s next great trap star.

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Coca-Cola Stage

July 8: 8 p.m.