As a small-town 20-something residing in Toronto, Thomas Quinlan planted his freak flag firmly in the Canadian hip hop landscape in 1996 with the debut of Hand’Solo Records and the release of Bassments of Badmen, a compilation of hip hop from Halifax, Nova Scotia, featuring the likes of local legends Buck 65, Classified, Jorun, Hip Club Groove, and others. The following 40+ releases over the next 22 years contain early music in the discographies of other Canadian hip hop heavyweights, too: Moka Only, Tachichi, Wordburglar, and Fortunato among them. Along with executive producing, planning, and promoting much of the music released on Hand’Solo, Thomas also organizes release shows and books short tours for the artists on the label.
In addition, Thomas Quinlan spent more than 20 years writing about hip hop, first at university and later with his own fanzine, followed by work in Exclaim, Mic Check, Peace, Hip Hop Canada, Urb in the U.S., and Clue in Japan, and spent a further few years co-hosting Lord Knows What?! on CKLN 88.1fm and hosting Silly Robots, an early podcast for Iceberg Media. He is also one-third of the team behind monthly live music night $5 Rap Show, now nine years strong, alongside host Wordburglar and DJ More Or Les.
Thomas Quinlan is a shy Leo who loves chicken, chocolate, and comic books.