At the beginning of his My Playlist show, the Maestro, (a.k.a. Maestro Fresh Wes, a.k.a. Wes Williams) says, with a laugh, that we're going to be surprised by his picks.
Who knew, for instance, that Canada's pioneer of hip-hop is a a Rush fan? And Alanis Morrisette. Maybe it explains, in part, why he completely befuddled critics back in 1989 when he released his landmark album Symphony in Effect. Unlike American rap and hip-hop, which is often rooted in anger and alienation, Maestro's masterpiece had a "we're in this together" made-in-Canada feel to it. With hits like "Let Your Backbone Slide" and "Drop the Needle" Symphony in Effect remains one of the best-selling Canadian hip-hop albums of all time.
And what could be more Canadian than his "Stick to your vision" with its brilliant sampling of the Burton Cummings classic "These Eyes" (Yes, Burton's on his playlist).
The Maestro has certainly influenced the next generation of rapper and hip hop artists (he counts Drake as a friend). And he just released the EP Black Tuxedo with promise of yet another album in 2013.
But while he devotes a lot of time to his music, the Maestro likes to mix things up.
Under his birth name, as Wes Williams he continues to build a impressive acting career. You really owe it to yourself to see him as the teacher all the kids love, Phil Dwyer, in the CBC Television comedy hit Mr. D.
A very funny and engaging guy.
Listen to Inside the Music by clicking the play button and via Radio on Sunday 3 p.m. (3:30 NT) and Radio One on Sunday at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
Below find Maestro's My Playlist picks with links to iTunes:
"O-o-h Child" Five StairSteps
"Rose Garden" Shad
"Rock and Roll" Big Black Lincoln
"You Oughta Know" Alanis Morrisette
"Tom Sawyer" Rush
"Woke up this morning" Alabama 3
"Try" Nellie Furtado
"BaKardi Slang" Kardinal Official
Maestro on CBC Music
Listen to the Black Tuxedo EP
on Nov 30, 2012