TORONTO - Toronto rapper Drake and Vancouver rock duo Japandroids are among the 10 artists vying for the Polaris Music Prize, which will be handed out tonight at a gala in Toronto.
The winner of $30,000 award — given to the best Canadian album of the previous year — will be determined by a 10-person jury of journalists, bloggers and broadcasters.
Drake, 25, finds himself in the running for the first time after releasing his moody sophomore smash, "Take Care." While he's by far the highest-profile nominee this year, no rapper has ever taken the prize.
Japandroids, that acclaimed noise-pop pair whose second album "Celebration Rock" received a nomination, also find themselves on the Polaris short list for the first time.
Other newcomers included Montreal electro-pop breakout Grimes, Toronto folk-soul singer Cold Specks, recently split Montreal electro-rock pair Handsome Furs and Montreal avant-garde collective Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.
The list is rounded out by Canadian artists who have been here before.
Calgary-reared songstress Feist is up for the Polaris for a second time for her contemplative record "Metals," Edmonton-bred rapper Cadence Weapon is back on the short list with his innovative new album "Hope in Dirt City" and Ottawa singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards received her second Polaris nod for "Voyageur."
Toronto hardcore band F---ed Up also nabbed a nomination for the ambitious concept album "David Comes to Life," just three years after winning the award.
Tonight's gala at the Masonic Temple will feature performances from seven nominees, including Feist, Cadence Weapon, Edwards and Grimes.
Members of Arcade Fire — the Montreal band that won the award last year — will be on hand to announce this year's winner.
Other past Polaris champs include Caribou, Karkwa and Patrick Watson.