OTTAWA—Over the past decade, only a small group of artists from Canada’s capital have been minted as certified ambassadors for the local scene. Few have found a degree of success typically reserved for standout artists from larger, more established hip-hop markets; few have been true to their roots in the city, while having the charisma and talent to transcend its identity. Yet, at only 20-years-old, recording artist TwoTiime continues to push through barriers, and achieve new milestones on his most certain path to mass appeal. Since a young age, TwoTiime, born Khalid Omar, has been exposed to the harsh realities of the streets, and the impact it has on communities breeding an ongoing cycle of pain and despair.
Growing up in Ottawa’s notorious west-side neighbourhood, Ritchie Street, TwoTiime’s initial breakout came in 2020 as the community mourned the loss of a talented young rapper named FTG Metro. TwoTiime’s single, “Hood Cry,” was a tribute to his fallen friend, and the song and video were quickly celebrated by listeners across the world. The deep-rooted loss motivated TwoTiime to reaffirm his decision to pursue music as a career, and to focus his efforts on achieving success through experience-guided strategy and an onslaught of big singles. While “Hood Cry” certainly made a huge impact for TwoTiime, the release of “Keep It Real” opened TwoTiime’s market to an even larger audience as Fortnite enthusiasts embraced the song for their highlight reel YouTube videos. Like “Hood Cry” before it, “Keep It Real” has amassed more than 1.43 million streams on just Spotify alone.
The plan continued with “Slower” kicking off TwoTiime’s 2021 campaign, and it was packaged with another supporting music video that has surpassed 100K views on YouTube. To date, TwoTiime’s only video not to reach that feat is his most recent offering, “Did A Lot,” which is well on its way to following suit. “Did A Lot” is the first of two singles released through WorldStarHipHop, with the other single being “Juice.” While TwoTiime’s fanbase has been growing organically since he first made his debut in 2019 with “Ride 4 Me,” he’s also seeing an increase in media outlets covering his rise in the industry. Influential platforms like Complex, HotNewHipHop and others, have begun to regularly feature TwoTiime’s releases, while even regional publications far removed from the streets of Ritchie have also showed love.
“I’m an instrument of the streets,” TwoTiime explained in a recent interview. “I know there’s a million other kids that have gone through the same thing as me. So, I just want to relate to them, reach out to them, you know, show them they’re not alone.”
It’s a strategy that is proving to be as effective as it is genuine, with TwoTiime’s numbers growing at an impressive rate over the past calendar year.