Words by Chris Wilson
Photography via The Partae
The #ONTHERISE series focuses on emerging talent that are on the come up or are on the cusp of becoming that next big star. You will find a wide range of acts that spawn across all artistic disciplines from all over the world and of course from our own City of Toronto. My hope is that you will find someone new to support, whether it be through plays on their Spotify account, purchasing a ticket to their show or buying some of their work. We need to support the acts that are dreaming of a world where they can spend every moment of the day making a living from the craft they love.
The artist I want to bring to your attention is a Toronto native who has been a leader and role model in Regent Park, the neighborhood where he grew up. On that note let me introduce you to Mustafa aka Mustafa the Poet.
He has been actively working as an artist, filmmaker, activist, and poet for over a decade bringing to light the issues around poverty in his community. At a young age he wrote a beautiful poem titled ‘A Single Rose’ that instantly tells you how important of individual Mustafa will be to the community moving forward. In today’s time where inequality and injustice are topics being spoken about daily, Mustafa was tackling these issues at a young age through his writing. Leaning on his perspective having grown up in the Regent Park neighborhood, which is Canada’s largest and oldest social housing development, Mustafa work paints a picture of what life is like for those in his community. He is released an EP of his own, opened for Jhene Aiko and has co-written a song with The Weeknd. Most notably he released a short film “Remember Me, Toronto” that futures numerous Toronto rappers speaking on gun violence and loses of closes friends due to this. Mustafa constantly tackles issues that plague the Black community and is more than just important figure in the Toronto Arts Community he’s the truth.
You can listen to his first single as a solo artist, ‘Stay Alive’ on Spotify and here’s a cover alongside one of my favorite artist James Blake titled ‘Come Back’.