By the time you’ll read this, your boy YN’s yellow ass will be in Toronto educating and civilizing the folks at the Kuumba Festival. I honestly don’t know much about this event but the homie S Dot told me we was rollin’ so I got my passport. I’m sure whatever it ends up being I’ll make the best out of it. Shit, a free flight, a nice hotel and couple of hundred bucks to talk about how great my friends and I are—fuck New Edition—you can count me in.

Plus if the time permits, I’ll get to break bread (I see you Serch!) and enjoy a cocktail or two with my homegirls, fellow XXL blogger Tara Henley and fellow journalist Celine Wong. I’m sure throughout my visit though the issue of my feelings on international rap and my theories on why no Canadian MC has of yet cracked through to the American audience will be brought up.

I honestly don’t have all the answers. I remember the potential hype behind a couple of artists like Choclair and Kardinal Offishall a few years back. But when it comes to a personal connection to the scene the only brother I ever truly got acquainted with from the world’s second-largest country was a dude named Maestro Fresh Wes.

By the time I met him in 1994, he had dropped the Fresh Wes and was goin’ by simply Maestro. Maestro and I became cool but my memory fails me on how that came to be. I must have written something he liked about him or something. I do remember that even though he was from a “foreign land” he would move through the Rotten Apple like a dude from BK.

That’s right, ole boy had a lil’ NY swag and his 1994 album Naaah, Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada?!! boasted appearances from underground giant Percee P and production from Showbiz from D.I.T.C. fame. Check out a couple of my picks from the CD below and I hope if the big homie is still livin’ in T Dot that he swings through to shake the hand of the yellow man. Can’t forget about you too, nigga.

This couldn’t have been 13 years ago:

“Pray To Da East” (featuring Percee P)

“Certs Wid Out Da Retsyn”

“Mic Mechanism” (produced by Showbiz)

“Fine Tune Da Mic” (produced by and featuring Showbiz)

“Bring It On (Remix)” (produced by, of course, Showbiz)