It was always going to be cheesy from the get-go.
But no one could ever have prepared themselves for the sh*t-storm that is CBC’s Toronto in the 6ix music video.
And while the video isn’t brand new (it was initially released, somewhat ironically, on Good Friday), it has taken me this long to try to fully comprehend what exactly I was watching.
I’m still none the wiser.
Mississauga native Britney Davis won the contest, beating out almost 300 entrants to win her place as the next Drake, with one solitary mission: to rep for Toronto.
Davis’ original song, intended to be “both an anthem and a love letter to Toronto” according to the CBC contest guidelines, certainly crams plenty of Toronto content into the four plus minutes. But unless this was supposed to be part anthem and part trivia quiz about the city, it’s fallen a little short of the mark when it comes to really nailing the city’s unique character.
You get the feeling Google maps might have been open during the song writing process. At one point the street names are exhaustively listed, with very little embellishment or commentary – you know, just in case you forgot that there are a Bathurst, Kipling, and Spadina in Toronto.
Absolutely no stone is left unturned (don’t worry CN Tower, you’re obviously a part of the ‘anthem’ too.) But even the much beleaguered public transport system gets a mention, as everyone is invited to “get in and roll with me, let’s take a ride downtown on the TTC.” And you have to wonder, why someone who we “best believe is holding down my city” wouldn’t take us from point A to B via Uber, as more than half of Torontonians prefer to do.
Seemingly ticking off all the Toronto stereotypes, the song reminds us just how multicultural the 6ix is, “with different colours on their faces, no matter what your race is,” even going as far to categorically bullet point the “Chinese, Guianese, Filipino, Haitian, Somali, Jamaican” citizens that make up its nation.
From the 6ix drew the line at mentioning maple syrup, perhaps wanting to narrow down the anthem to less nationwide pursuits and keep things more Toronto-centric. But there was mention of the “red and white” Canadian flag, deemed worthy of four shout outs.
Despite its author being a mere 21 years old, the song feels like it was written by a particularly embarrassing uncle. The constant 6ix hand gestures feign a hip-hop swagger that is sadly lacking, and the cameos from the CBC hosts in the background who throw their hands in the air like they just don’t care have about as much street-cred as Carlton Banks in a cardigan.
The chorus revolves around the fact that loud and proud rhyme, and in that spirit, the refrain is repeated over and over (and over). At times the parody element of the video is almost overwhelming, and I half- expected Drake to pop out from behind the ROM, abruptly signalling to the DJ to cut the music so he could take it from here.
Britney Davis is by no means untalented. She can sing and she has a musical background. But a song that sets about putting Toronto on a platter for everyone to feast on was never going to create an authentic insight to the city. It can’t please everyone, and it has to come organically in order not to make us all cringe – which is why the 6God has found such success and carved out his own anthems.
But while we snigger at Toronto’s Song in the 6ix, Britney Davis definitely has the last laugh. As well as making the video, she goes home $10,000 richer. Sadly, we just go home feeling empty.