Dream Warriors was the brainchild of King Lou (Louis Robertson) and Capital Q (Frank Allert), a pair of rappers and hip hop artists that were all the rage in Toronto in the late 1980s, busting their moves up and down the strip.
In ’88 King Lou made his recording debut when he appeared on Michie Mee and LA Luv’s single, “Victory Is Calling,” which also featured the debut of MC Lyte. They continued making some noise as part of The Beat Factory Productions team, a group of local hip hoppers trying to make it big, when they independently released the song “My Definition of A Boombastic Jazz Style” to radio. It got significant airplay around the Toronto and Montreal areas, and they became one of the first Canadian hip hop acts to sign a major label deal when Island Records came calling in 1990.
They released their debut album AND NOW THE LEGACY BEGINS later that year. Sampling several artists of just about every genre, including Quincy Jones, War, Count Basie, and Kook & The Gang, the record was more of a hit in the UK than in North America, where it peaked at #18. Although it didn’t chart at all in the US, they became an underground hit and were a popular draw in several American markets, particularly the east coast.
The record made it to #34 in Canada and went gold (50,000 units), and earned them a 1991 Juno Award nomination for Rap Recording of the Year for the single, “Wash Your Face In My Sink.” “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style” also won them that Juno a year later. Two more singles – “Ludi” and “Follow Me Not” also hit the charts, but neither cracked the top 40 anywhere.
Critics were quick to note however that they showed glimpses of not only being the typical fun-loving and jovial quirky rap artists on vinyl, but also artists with a social message, particularly with “U Could Get Arrested,” a scathing commentary on police racism.
Their stock was rising and in ’92 they were asked to record a track for the “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” soundtrack, which they happily obliged with “Man Smart, Woman Smarter.” The added attention they were receiving helped land the act on the cover of “Melody Maker” in the UK and an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine.
They became the first Canadian hip hop act to tour the world, and after their jaunts in the Orient and Europe were over, they came home to work on their sophomore album, which didn’t come until 1994 in the form of SUBLIMINAL SIMULATION. Securing worldwide distribution the following spring thru EMI, by this point they’d added rapper Spek and DJ Luv (whose previous credits included working with Michie Mee) to the fold, who’d tagged along with them on tour for the past year or so anyway.
Once again King Lou handled the bulk of the writing, despite the record borrowing and sampling from several artists again. Expanding on their jazz/rap formula with some spoken word experimentation in between the tracks, it produced a pair of singles that both got some attention – “Day in Day Out” and “California Dreamin’.” But neither made any headway from the previous album, and got mixed reviews from the critics. Still, it earned them another Juno nomination in ’95 for Best Rap Recording.
Noting the lack of steam from the genre in general, label execs chose not to release the next album Stateside, where the band in particular hadn’t made any headway anyway. Back down to the original duo, 1996’s THE MASTER PLAN was released with little push. Sporting more of a Caribbean flavour in songs like “Sound Clash” (featuring Beenie Man), it was one of three singles released. But like the others – “Float On” and “What Do You Want Ladies,” it failed to hit the mark on the charts. Still, the band again found its name in the hat for Best Rap Recording at the ’97 Junos.
They recorded a hip hop version of the song “Edmonton Block Heater” for the compilation album, A TRIBUTE TO HARD CORE LOGO. They followed it up with their own ‘best of’ collection before the end of the decade, ANTHOLOGY: A DECADE OF HITS on Priority Records. Along with the original versions of the singles, it also contained some specially recorded remixes of a few tracks, including Beenie Man returning for a remix of the socially-charged, “It’s A Project Thing,” as well as a pair of new songs – “Dream Warriors” and “U Ready.”
Taking some time off to re-evaluate things, the duo came back in 2002 on ISBA/BMG Music with THE LEGACY CONTINUES, a Canadian-only release. Although they called on famed hip hop producer Wriggz for the bulk of the album, it spawned the single “Road of Many Signs” with The Herbaliser behind the controls. “Breathe Or Die” and “Unstoppable” followed, but with the exception of a blink of an eye, the album went largely un-noticed, despite the duo even trying to relive some of its past glory with a beefed up version of “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Syle” (with Pierre J mixing).
After a few shows around the GTA, the duo quietly faded off into the sunset and went on to other projects.