How Toronto’s Boosie Fade Transformed From A Rap DJ Night Into A Digital Movement

Editorial Director, Music

Becca Lemire

Late last year, when Twitter began to shift from a clubhouse with fun jokes to a knife festival, I was searching for a place to talk about my love for rap music with other people. My old friend group who fit this bill had been co-opted by an ex, and it turns out listening to new 2 Chainz songs and deconstructing hip-hop memes just isn’t as much fun on your own.

Luckily, Jordan Sowunmi, someone I knew only from Twitter and through his previous work at Vice, had a solution for me: He invited me to join his Facebook group, Boosie Fade, which was based off of a monthly rap party of the same name that he’d been throwing in Toronto.

The party, which he started with another friend, James Rathbone, had been going steady since 2014, but the Facebook group was a new element. Usually, I avoid Facebook groups like the plague, but desperate for conversation with other people who cared about the impending Kanye album, I joined. The impact it had on my life was immediate and palpable. Strangers from all over were posting tweets, Instagrams, songs, mixtapes, and memes that I could check in on at my leisure. Thoughtful conversations sprang to life across multiple comments — or multiple posts — and never devolved into the kind of nipping that often accompanies hip-hop arguments. There was an overwhelming sense of positivity in the group that I rarely encounter in online conversations about rap.

Watching the physical party take place from afar every couple of months left me with an undeniable FOMO, but beyond that, I was surprised at how quickly the group became part of my daily life, both as someone who works in the music industry and as an earnest, eager rap fan.

In December, I was able to finally attend a Boosie Fade party for myself, which elevated the impact of the entire concept to another level. In five years of living in and working in the online world of hip-hop, I’ve never encountered anything like the positive momentum, inclusiveness, and diversity that Boosie Fade represents. Here’s the backstory to one of the most unique spaces on the rap internet.