Before there was Drake, before The Weeknd and before there was Kardinal Offishall, there was Maestro Fresh Wes.
Considered the “Godfather” of Canadian hip-hop, Maestro is still recording music and there’s a good chance that if you’re out in the city’s clubs this weekend the DJ still might throw on his 1989 hit Let Your Backbone Slide.
For me, I was introduced to Maestro Fresh-Wes BEFORE he went by that moniker…When I first heard the young MC from Scarborough was when he was known as Melody MC, one half of the duo “Vision” with his partner Ebony MC.
I was a fan back then but in late 1988, he re-branded himself and along with his then manager, Farley Flex came to see me during my radio show at CHRY 105.5 fm. They brought a cassette with a song on it called “Let Your Backbone Slide” (basically right out of the studio). Now let me be honest, I wasn’t sold on this song immediately…Not sure why either LOL.
But what ended up happening with this song is pretty amazing…It started to buzz…Then it got picked up by an indie label out of NYC called LMR, then they shot a dope video, and the ball kept rolling.
This was the first hip-hop song that was getting massive airplay on Much Music AND radio across the country…He became a STAR!! I remember him doing an in-store appearance at Scarborough Town Centre and 10,000 (at least it felt like that) people showed up…CRAZY!!!
Needless to say, this song paved the way for all the great things that were bound to happen for Hip-Hop and R&B in Toronto and Canada and it’s only fitting that Maestro and “Backbone” get celebrated with this well deserved documentary that is coming out soon.