Musicians Celebrate the Toronto Raptors' Reign with Caribbean Vibes

King Ujah
Raptor fever has been fantastic! So fantastic, that it's going to be sad to see it pass and hard to fill the void of excitement and pride that NBA fans across the country have been feeling lately.

For the past few years, each season has manifested increased energy and fan support from Torontonians, Canadians, and basketball fans around the globe. As the momentum carried on into the post-season with playoff games and a heightened realization that our hometown NBA squad could potentially bring us to the Finals, the creativity from supporters only increased. Heading into the Eastern Conference Finals, and eventually the Finals, the fanfare continued to elevate in crowd sizes, paraphernalia sales, and wild and uncontrollable antics of joy from inside the Scotiabank Arena, to outside in Jurassic Park, and in recording studios across the GTA.

Now that yesterday's victory parade has come and gone and the festivities have "officially" come to an end (for now), it has been great to reflect back on just how incredibly entertaining this Raptors season has been, and how many great side stories have emerged.

And can you blame us? Toronto has waited for this. Some of us remember the days of national obscurity and feeling second-class to our American counterparts. Many of us recall that urban insecurity too well, and that's what makes all of these celebratory actions  extra sweet.

There have been plenty Raptors anthems released over the years, and many superfans (other than Nav Bhatia and Drake) who have made headlines and gone viral. The ones that move me the most, are the Caribbean musicians who have taken this moment in time and captured the exhilaration through lyrics, melodies, and riddims.

Here are some of our favourite musical moments from this year's road to the NBA Championship, created from a few notable West Indian brothers!


Here's a great video featuring Jamaican-Canadian artist Kardi's "Run" with every sports broadcaster's favourite game time visual: the folks in Jurassic Park:

This one is a staple, and we've been hearing it for years during television broadcasts and in-stadium hype sessions: Kardi's Raptors anthem was specially remixed for this year.


Canadian reggae artist King Ujah released an original track called "King in the Arena" celebrating the Raptors' road to the Finals:


St. Vincent's Jamsey P released a special Raptors remix to his 2019 song Soca Land. The tune "Raptors Land" is full of vibes and will surely be in heavy rotation on the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade route this year.


Jamaican-Canadian reggae artist General Genius was a hit with television newsrooms and Jurassic Park residents when his "Raptor Foot" dance and chant caught on. Now as much as part of the experience as the "We the North" cheers, we've even had the pleasure of seeing Toronto Mayor John Tory buss this dance, noted journalists (like Brandon Gonez, the Raptor Foot specialist) endorse it, and the release of a music video to accompany the unofficial dance of the team.


Having any type of Caribbean discussion about the Raptors wouldn't be complete without mentioning Jamaican artist (and Toronto resident) Louie Rankin. Whether you loved him most back in 1992 when his big tune Typewritter was tearing up dancehalls, or you had an appreciation for him in the 1998 movie Belly with DMX and Nas, you definitely know that Louis Rankin is full of electricity.

Here's a sample of what fans of the original Jamaican Don Dadda could look forward to via Louis Rankin's Instagram posts:

Witnessing the Caribbean influence on the most memorable Raptors celebrations is what can be expected from the highly multicultural and Caribbean-influenced pop culture here in Toronto. These contributions are significant because they represent the people, the movement, sound, and the heart of Toronto.

Inspiration comes in many forms and it's a beautiful thing to see how the excellence of these athletes has transferred into so many creative products. The majority of us will never forget how great the Raptors' journey has been this season, and thanks to these recording artists we now also have a permanent reminder of the spirit of this historic year.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.


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