Building Quebec’s rap scene is one thing. Taking it to the next level is another


If rappers’ relationships with local podcasters are strong, the same can’t be said when it comes to the Quebec government’s arts funding agency.

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) boasts an annual budget of more than $20 million for artist grants.

But the agency has faced criticism for its treatment of hip-hop culture.

When grant money is given to hip-hop projects, too much of it ends up in the hands of the same artists and labels, according to veteran Dice B. He refers to this group as “gatekeepers” — people who hog government resources, putting up-and-coming rappers at a disadvantage.

“The grants are everything here,” he said. “The industry doesn’t move if it doesn’t get the money.”

LISTEN | Dice B – Lundi

In an interview with CBC News, Céline Lavallée, the CALQ’s director of artist support, acknowledged that not enough grant money goes to hip-hop artists and the agency gets “relatively few submissions” from them.

Part of the solution, Lavallée says, is making sure more of the CALQ’s judges better understand hip-hop culture. In 2022, the CALQ put together a committee on hip-hop culture to help make funding more accessible to artists.

“There’s a belief that the CALQ is not for them, it’s for other types of artists and there’s no point in submitting an application,” Lavallée said.

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