SHIFTER’s “Top 20 Canadian DJs you need to know” list is sponsored by You.i TV, the Ottawa-based company and platform that powers Twitch.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ground live entertainment to a halt affecting club owners and DJs. But many DJs have taking this time to flex their entrepreneurial muscles, exploring new opportunities, from music production to live streaming on Twitch and Instagram Live with DJs like D-Nice leading the charge.
Here in the north, our country has produced some of the best DJs in the world, from A-Trak and Kaytranada to Toronto Raptors DJ 4Korners. But for every celebrity DJ, there are thousands you don’t hear about. A few months ago, we asked our social media followers to let us know who were the top Canadian DJs that people needed to know about, from British Columbia to the Maritimes and they came through for us.
So here are the top 20 Canadian DJs you need to know about according to our Instagram and Facebook followers. Numbers one through five are in order of number of votes followed by the remaining DJs in no particular order.
Favourite DJs: Baby Blue Sound Crew, Baby Yu, Miles Medina
Floetic is a DJ and producer from Vancouver, Canada who racked up the most votes on our list. By a long shot. The 10-year music industry vet has played all over the world, including North America, Europe and Africa. His profile grew as a back to back finalist at the National Redbull Threestyle Finals, cementing his reputation as of the top DJs in the country.
Adding to the lore behind the Vancouver DJ were his features with DJcity, Serato, Complex, Nike RUN and Redbull, as well as his appearances major festivals like Safe and Sound fest, Break Out Festival, One Love Fest, Cariwest, Centre of Gravity.
Despite his success, Floetic stays hungry, working with a chip on his shoulder with the ultimate goal of climbing the Canadian and global DJ rankings.
2. Marquez The DJ // Ottawa
Residency: Molson Canadian Fan Deck (NHL Ottawa Senators), Joey Restaurants, The Standard Luxury Tavern and more…
How long have you been DJing: 8 years
Favourite DJs: ATRAK, Four Color Zack, DJ Jazzy Jeff
The DJ who got the next largest number of votes was long time resident DJ for the Molson Canadian Fan Deck (NHL Ottawa Senators), Marquez the DJ, who has gotten attention from his peers and fans alike through his unique open format style consisting of house/electro, Afro-Latin, funk, rock, and hip-hop. He bucks the stereotypical fist pumping celebrity DJ trend, developing his own signature approach, combining his music knowledge, cheeky word play, and energetic mixing techniques. A student of the game, he walks the fine line of staying true to the old-school roots of turntablism while incorporating modern elements of the artform, including live remixing, finger drumming, sampling tracks and technology.
Aside from being a resident DJ at the Canadian Tire Centre, he has also played at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, the capital’s biggest music festival, as well Casino Lac Leamy’s prestigious club ALEA, positioning him as one of Ottawa’s more sought after DJ’s. Of course, opening for artists like Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine and FKI 1st, and touring Europe and Canada with LGS Band doesn’t hurt.
Favourite DJs: My favourite DJ is DJ Starting From Scratch. List of DJs who inspired/influenced me are DJ Starting From Scratch, Spex, Jester, DJ Niterider, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Wikked, DJ Chris
Malcolm Mayers, better known as Reckz (stylized as RXCKZ), also had one of the highest vote counts from our readers and social media followers. The Canadian and Barbadian DJ, music producer, musician and songwriter based in Toronto, Canada got bit by the music bug at five years old, studying piano at the Ontario Conservatory of Music, then at eight years old he started DJing, following in the footsteps of his father, DJ Brother Merv.
His first gig saw him DJing alongside Toronto’s DJ Wikked at Cube nightclub. Since then he’s gone on to work with big brands including Adidas, Ciroc, Calvin Klein, Hallmark, as well as celebrities like NAV (“Bad Habits” Album release party), Danny Green, Fred Vanveleet, Joe Carter, Naughty By Nature and Salt-N-Pepa, Bryan Michael Cox, and Kardinal Official. He has alsopPlayed alongside celebrity DJs like Starting From Scratch, Jester, Lissa Monet, 4Korners, Cale Grant, DJ Nitrane, and Unimerce.
Residency: Fox On John (currently), Rebel Toronto, La Noche Wednesday’s, Toybox Nuevo Thursday’s, At The Studio
How long have you been DJing: 6 years
Favourite DJs: Cale Granton, Trapment, DJ Dattabase, DJ Stackz
Nocturnal is a driven producer-artist-DJ originally from the Tri-Cities (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge). Getting his start in the craft at 17 years old, DJing house parties, school dances, and private and corporate events, he then started spinning DJing at Dos Tequilas on King Street in Waterloo once he turned legal age.
He also got in on the business side of entertainment as a promoter, joining the promotional team WAV. He then had his first set time with WAV inside of Liar Liar in downtown Toronto in 2017 for the Ever After Music Festival after party. That same Summer he joined GoodLookTO and got into the Latin scene, learning from five-time Best Latin Promoter, John “GoodLook” Gallego. It was around this time what he graduated to “the big leagues”, spinning at the Rebel entertainment complex and John’s personal club At The Studio on College St.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Nocturnal has kept busy by focusing on music production working with Cuba/Toronto artist Emartz, and DJing at downtown upper class restobar Fox On John.
How long have you been DJing: Officially 9 years… Unofficially 20 something years
Favourite DJs: DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Craze, Beat Junkies, X-ecutioners, Mix Master Mike and many more.
“Eazy is well known for his open format style of DJing. His talent permits him to flow and mix smoothly between genres creating a unique musical vibe to the listener. Wether it’s new or old school jams he’s got you covered with anything ranging from hip-hop, R&B, reggae and dancehall to his original latin roots.”
Favourite DJs: Skratch Bastid, Hedspin, Miles Medina, Jazzy Jeff. Inspired byInvisible Skratch Piklz, X-Men, Turnstylez, 2 Swift Household
Calgary-based C-SIK is a “DJ’s DJ”. After starting out a turntablist and battling in competitions like the DMCs, he has built a reputation as one of Canada’s most versatile DJs. His superior crowd-reading and tastemaking abilities have let him to rock crowds from Toronto and New York to San Francisco and Honolulu. His globetrotting continued as he won the Red Bull Style national title in 2014, representing Canada in the world stage in Azerbaijan.
Here on home soil, C-SIK has residencies at some of Calgary’s leading venues including Lounge XVIII and Untitled Lounge. He also co-founded one of the prairie city’s most successful old-school hip-hop and R&B parties, Rewind (which has consistently sold out its 1000+ person venue for eight years running).
The 22 year vet is also passionate about raising up the next generation of DJs, leadingthe DJ program at Beat Drop, Calgary’s first DJ and production school. And there’s no one better for the job. From dropping a guest mix on Sway In The Morning, to playing alongside De La Soul’s Maseo or directly supporting Diplo, he has clearly established himself as one of the best DJ’s in the country.
It’s been six years since Halifax native, Seb C, made the move west to Vancouver and he’s been taring it up ever since. His secret sauce is his signature “Noice Noise” sound, a blend of the hip-hop and rap beats with the high energy electronic sounds.
Consistently playing before sold out crowds as the resident at Celebrities, Bar None & Pierre’s Nightclubs in Vancouver, Seb C has also taken his show on the road, completing his Canadian ‘Whole Lotta Tour” in 2019, including 15 shows in nine Canadian cities, and has performed as Croatia, Netherlands and England.
Among his many accomplishment is his win at the 2017 Paradiso DJ competition, appearances at numerous festivals, including Snowbombing Canada and Center of Gravity, and supporting the Montreal-based band The Chains.
Favourite DJs: Starting From Scratch, Kid Capri, Jazzy Jeff, Vice, 4Korners, Charlie B
Mississauga’s DJ Andre 905 has been spinning Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, Soca, Top 40, House, Electro, Retro, Old School vibes in the Greater Toronto Area for the past 13 years.
A student of Canadian DJs such as Grouch, Starting From Scratch and Baby Yu, Andrew turned his passion into club bookings, which eventually led to corporate events, parties and concerts for Nike Canada, Investors Group, ICICI Bank, K Swiss Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and Boston Pizza. That led him to DJ at the Duke Canadian Invitational games at the Paramount Fine Foods Theatre in his hometown of Mississauga along with shows from Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J and Young Money’s Tyga. These events featured the likes of Drake, Usher, Toronto Raptors, Raekwon, The Weeknd, King Of The Dot, and more. He has also shared the stage with such DJ legends as DJ Drama, Stevie J, Charlie B, and DJ Self.
After years of hard work he was finally named the official DJ for the Raptors 905, the G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors.
Touring DJ, DJ Rocswell, is a Calgary-based producer and open format DJ. Having performed at some of the hottest clubs and lounge restaurents in Canada, the 25 year vet who is able to rock any crowd or venue. A brand ambassador for the World Bier Haus chain of restaurants, his passion for music, DJing and music production keeps Rocswell hungry for more.
Favourite DJs: Cale Granton, Lincoln Baio and Charlie B. Also guys like DJ Puffy and all the Soulection DJs. A-Trak, Diplo, Jazzy Jeff and Preemo.
Toronto-based Open format DJ and producer Jaden Burton, aka For The People, has been a staple in the city’s college party scene, playing venues like Grace O’Malleys, Tequila Jacks, Fiction and Orchid. Ten years deep on the scene, FTP was mentored by popular Toronto DJs, Cale Granton (Toronto Maple Leafs), Lincoln Baio (King Of The Dot), Jon Daniels (Lavelle) and Chris Laroque (REBEL), For The People became the youngest member of the Foreign City DJ Collective in 2018 after perfecting his craft in his bedroom for seven years.
In 2018, his time on the college party circuit brought him full circle as he accepted an offer to be the official DJ of the Ryerson Rams. That led to him performing Kawhi Leonard’s first open practice in Toronto at Ryerson University, as well as in being named the official DJ of the 2019 USPORTS Women’s Basketball Championship, televised nationally by Sportsnet. Despite his growing profile in the city of Toronto, perhaps his biggest accomplishment to date was being selected into the Top 64 in the World Beat Battle.
Favourite DJs: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Lindo P, Walshy Fire, Carl Cox, DJ Starting from Scratch
“Topkat Amazona is a DJ and producer who hails from the Amazona Soundstation which has been one of Atlantic Canada’s leading Caribbean music Sound Systems for the past 10 years. Currently, Topkat as he is popularly known is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Toronto, Ontario.”
Favourite DJs: Karizma, Spinna, Kid Caprim, Funkmaster Flex, Louie Vega, Jazzy Jeff, Dean Zepherin, Jovonn, Tony Desypris, Scratch, Red Alert
“With Oasis MTL & 5 STARZ DOPE SOUNDZ by his side and WMC & MI CASA HOLIDAY under his belt, Don Barbarino aka Godfather D is a MTL legend in the both house and hip hop scenes. But don’t be fooled by his sweet smile, Don Barbarino’s timing is always right when he drops a sweet konpa track to get the crowd swaying.”
Favourite DJs: DJ Khaled, DJ Drama, Jazzy Jeff. Kid Capri, Funk Flex, Starting From Scratch, Spex Da Boss
Combining together precise technical skills, entertaining emceeing and captivating track selection, Frank Vinatra is about creating memorable moments for all party goers.
“My goal is to ensure that anyone who steps into any venue I am playing at, leaves saying they had the time of their lives”, Frank explains.
Coming from a musical family, Vinatra was blessed with an ear for sound from a young age. Getting his start as a singer and dancer, his eventually transitioned to sports. After getting cut from his university basketball team, he transitioned to DJing. Today, Frank Vinatra has built up an impressive list of clients, from international stars Akon and French Montana to leading Canadian talents Tory Lanez and Kardinal Offishall, as well as events like TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana).
He is also a featured mix DJ on radio stations on both sides of the border, including WBLK 93.7FM and CFRE 91.9FM. His childhood curiosity for music and natural ear for sound has now brought him full circle as he expands his artisty into producing original music.
Favourite DJs:DJ Consequence, DJ Khaled, DJ Puffy, DJ Spinall
Originally from the music hotbed of Nigeria, DJ Sheny is arguably one of the Maritimes most versatile DJs. Having moved to Canada in 2010 to attend University of Prince Edward Island, he then moved to Halifax where he has been rocking crowd’s ever since. The 2019 AfriFest Top DJ Award winner, who has toured major cities across Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is known to infuse his African culture into his personal style and sets.
Favourite DJs: DJ Starting From Scratch, Willy Chin, Scratch Bastid
Ottawa native Jamie Wallace, a.k.a. DJ Fusion, has been behind the decks for the last 10 years. Jamie fell perfectly into the DJ community because of is an intrinsic ear for sound, ambition and work ethic. His DJ influences include Funk Master Flex, DJ Starting From Scratch, Supa Dups, Willy Chin and Walshy Fire from Black Chiney Sound Crew. Since the age of sixteen, Jamie has been organising and DJ’in multiple all-ages parties. Through these parties, Jamie was able to connect himself with the Ottawa reggae scene and other ranks of popular local DJ’s.
Residency: Santos Tapas Bar, Tokyo Bar, Jet Night Club, Riverside
How long have you been DJing: 20 years
Favourite DJs: Too many favourites to name. Inspired by Jazzy Jeff, DJ AM, Z-Trip, Fashen, Spider
With a passion that goes beyond DJing to the culture and to music, DJ J-Fro is still going strong after 20 years. After such a long time in the game he’s able to move any crowd in any environment, from clubs and corporate events, to impromptu jams with Montreal’s finest DJs.
As one of Montreal’s premiere party rockers, he’s been the resident DJ two to three nights per week at the renowned Tokyo Bar in Montreal among others. In 2018 and 2019, he broke new ground by performing in the United States, from New York to Baltimore.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, his signature positive energy hasn’t stopped. He continues to bless music fans on Twitch and continues to drop mixtapes.
Residency: Official DJ for the Ottawa Senators (NHL)
How long have you been DJing: 15 years DJing, MCing since 1996
Favourite DJs: Kid Capri, Starting From Scratch, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Puffy
DJ Prosper is an Ottawa-based and Montreal-raised hip-hop artist and rapper turned DJ with over 20 years experience rocking crowds. From working as hype man to R&B legend Ashanti and co-founding the hip-hop group GPM with his wife Melissa over 10 years ago, to now becoming the new in-arena DJ for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, DJ Prosper is recognized as one of the leading live performers in the nation’s capital.
With a fanbase ranging from kids to seniors, he is an equally versatile DJ, spinning everything from Hip-Hop, R&B, Gospel, Reggae and Soca to 60s to 80s rock and pop music.
He’s also not your typical DJ, producing, releasing and performing original music. You can catch DJ Prosper on his syndicated radio show Powerhouse Radio every Sunday on CHRI 91.1 in Ottawa and JOY Radio in Toronto.
Favourite DJs: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kid Capri, Starting From Scratch, DJ Niterider
Ever since he was a kid, DJ Rych Kydd had one goal – to become a DJ. Today, he has realized this goal. What started with him buying his first set of turntables as a high school graduation gift and studying legends like DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, Kid Capri, and Funkmaster Flex, Starting From Scratch, P-Plus, Niterider and DJ Grouch has led to him becoming one of the most sought after DJs in Toronto.
Aside from being the resident DJ at Lavelle and Figures in Toronto and playing at some of Toronto’s top nightclubs, the 2011 Stylus/Pioneer DJ Toronto Rated Next DJ of the Year winner recently became a resident DJ at Toronto’s #1 Urban radio station Flow 93.5 FM.