Our Approach


NTMF was created with the same DIY spirit, drive & resilience that helped shape Canadian hip-hop into what it has become today. We pay homage to the pioneers of Canadian hip-hop and guide ourselves using the same principles of our past artists and cultural trailblazers, to grow the Canadian industry and create tangible opportunities for artists seeking self-development. We put artist education first, we break down barriers to accessibility and we empower artists.

Our Story

In 1998, Rascalz (emcees: Red1 and Misfit, and record producer DJ Kemo) won a Juno Award for their album "Cash Crop". The award for “Best Rap Recording” was presented at the non-televised technical awards the night before the main Juno ceremony, drawing criticism that the Juno’s were trying to create a barrier to the commercial visibility of Canadian hip-hop.

Rascalz became the first Canadian hip-hop act to decline a Juno award, sparking a controversy about the state of Canadian hip-hop. As a result, the Juno Awards moved the “Best Rap Recording” category to the main ceremony the following year. That year, Rascalz also wrote a one-off single called Northern Touch, which they recorded with guest rappers Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair. The song was released as a single and was adopted as an anthem for Canadian hip-hop's resilience and determination.

Defying the odds, Northern Touch became one of the biggest Canadian hip-hop hits ever recorded. At the Juno Awards of 1999, The Rascalz won again for Northern Touch and performed the song live at the televised ceremony.

Northern Touch Music Festival celebrates the past and spotlights continued growth into the future. We are here to stand as an equal voice for Canadian hip-hop, soul and R&B.

Meet the Team

Here are the people who are working hard to support the growth of the hip-hop, R&B and Soul music industry in Canada.


Bunny Lester


Ryan Reyes VP 2018 400 x 400

Ryan Reyes



Rhonda Wilson

Board Member


Shea Malcolmson

Background: Songwriter/Producer 

Justin Mathews 200 x 200

Justin Mathews

Director of Operations and Logistics
Background: Artist/Wealth Management

I am here to talk about how the festival runs! I want to talk about innovations in technology and partnerships that have to do with how the festival operates. I want the festival to run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.


Pauline Leung

Director of Partnerships & Opportunities
Background: Artist Management

I am here to talk about how we can work with your community initiatives or programming ideas! I want to talk about synergies in music/education/youth/community/art. I want to activate communities and bring people together.

Not an artist? You can help too!

If you would like to sponsor the event or volunteer to help at the Northern Touch Music Festival get in touch with us.