Quebec's Dominique Fils-Aimé, Toronto's Tobi among Polaris Music Prize contenders

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TORONTO — Albums from Quebec singer Dominique Fils-Aimé and Toronto rapper Tobi have been shortlisted for this year's Polaris Music Prize.

The selection of 10 albums vying for the $50,000 award includes projects spanning an array of music genres.

Fils-Aimé's "Three Little Words" completes a trilogy of albums celebrating the history of Black-American music, while Tobi's "Elements Vol. 1" fuses hip-hop, jazz, pop and R&B.

Other Polaris-nominated albums include two efforts from Toronto rappers — Cadence Weapon's "Parallel World" and DijahSB's "Head Above the Waters" — as well as the debut album of Mustafa, "When Smoke Rises," named in honour of his friend Smoke Dawg, a local rap artist who was killed in a 2018 shooting.

The burgeoning Indigenous music scene is also represented with "Bleached Waves" by Zoon, a project from Hamilton-based First Nations musician Daniel Monkman, and "Theory of Ice," a seething reflection on politics and the environment from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a member of Alderville First Nation.

Toronto folk act the Weather Station is up for "Ignorance," while the city's punk outfit the OBGMs are being recognized for "The Ends." Quebec singer-songwriter Klô Pelgag's dreamscape project "Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs" rounds out the list.

The Polaris Music Prize awards the artist or group that created the best Canadian album of the previous year — irrespective of genre or sales — as chosen by a team of journalists, broadcasters and bloggers.

Recent winners include Kaytranada, Jeremy Dutcher, Haviah Mighty and Transgender goth-metal rapper Backxwash, who won last year's prize with her album "God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It."

Polaris organizers say "due to continued uncertainty around returns to public gatherings," they will opt to skip the usual gala awards show in Toronto again this year.

Instead, the winner will be revealed on Sept. 27 with further details to be announced in the coming weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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