A Shiny kinda Xmas

The Shine presents your all-MTL hip hop holiday gift guide for all the heads on your list + big events to round out 2012, including Hip Hop Karaoke and the Hiram Key Project Part 2.

I may not be the world’s first black female billionaire, but that won’t stop me from telling you all about these marvelous little local doodads and thingamajigs that got me hyped like a Who at a roast beast dinner this year.

I promised it, now here it is: a roundup of what I consider pretty swank suggestions for your hip hop holiday gift list. And let’s be honest, you might just wanna get these items for yourselves. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you just share this link on Santa’s wall, you can probably sit back by the fireplace with your fiddle and play rigodon songs till the big day.

All of the items line the pockets of local artists and/or independent businesses. Some are pricier than others, but even if you have only a few bucks to spend on a friend (or yourself) this season, why not fête Montreal along with whatever else you celebrate? Channel all that goodwill and those best intentions to support your scene and share in helping make our mark.

Sweet baby Jesus, this sounds like a plea for basket donations! Let’s just get to it.

Let’s begin in style. My most comfortable and crisp piece of clothing these days is my Full Course hoodie. Hand-delivered for a well-spent $40, the brass-knuckle logo design will have you bumpin’ chests with strangers in the same attire. The Real City Reppin’ MC has already sold two made-to-order batches of 50 and counting, with profits funding his next EP project. I bet on black/gold but there is talk the current run is blue (with word of limited edition tanks).

I’ve admired the freshman gleam on these Dead Obies Ts and sweaters from a merch table or two and the quality/value ratio is sound. I’ve also seen a guy puke on himself in one of those hoodies. Please look sharper than that, Santa is watching.

Finally on the clothing tip, hate on ’em in the Queen’s English with AGL’s “Super Pompous” hoodies, new to the collection and looking dapper.

Now is a good time to simply shout out Sub V in NDG as a great one-stop shop for readers with a little brother or sister who loves hip hop and whom you suspect sneaks out in the middle of the night to paint “Wazoo-12” all over everything. A gift certificate might yield clothing, paint and drawing supplies, an amazing selection of high-end graf books, local CDs (saw Strata-Gems and 180Rocks in there last week) and whatever else the hip hop kid in you desires.

Plus, it is always a premier spot in central NDG to pick up our monthly print issue of Cult MTL (in which, I’d like to mention, ya’ boy D-Mac and the homegirl H-Mc took our respective seeds to evaluate the grizzled mall Santas of Montreal and beyond this month.) Covering both books and graphics, I wanna bring it on home with a couple of recommendations written, designed and self-published by two people I admire.

Pointe St-Charles protégé of the portrait-snap Paul Labonté and/or Paul 107 has had two amazing collections of pics added to his catalogue in as many years. The House Always Wins, states its single-phrase intro, is a chronicle of “photographs I shot or edited on my telephone, while I was not busy writing the great Canadian novel.”

Notwithstanding one ranting anecdote (accompanied shots of iconic-looking yet original biker imagery), the pocket gallery tells eight million other stories without rhyme or reason to the colours or concepts.

Labonté’s more sparsely laid out and less loosely defined 2011 title, Photographs Inspired by the Rap Music That Once Inspired Me, instinctively (and, I suppose, preemptively) complements its follow up THAW, and both fit nicely in a stocking.

Of interest to fans of comix, psychedelia, monochrome design or alphabet letters mutated into imaginary beasts with full bios is my man Rupert Bottenberg’s Traumstadtdenken (“dream-city-thinking”). The En Masse founding father reckons the book is still available at Drawn & Quarterly and Monastiraki.

He also hipped me to the LNDMRK pop-up gift shop, on now until the 22nd with amazing local crafts on display. Really, just look at that link and if you don’t see something that makes you wanna hurry your ass there as soon as that last payday before Christmas hits, I’ll personally mount Rudolph’s nose and antlers over your fireplace. I swear there is something for every head in the family, hip hop or otherwise, on offer up there.

And that does it. Friends, wherever you are, “I hope it’s a good one without any fear.” And 2012, well, you’ve been a slice.

I’ll be dropping little gifts on y’all for the rest of the week in year-end interviews with P.O.S., Killer Mike and Brother Ali. Next week, look out for Cult MTL’s NYE guide, our music team’s year-end Top 10s, and interviews with an artist or two helping ring it in, including my first ever tête-à-tête with Montreal man-of-the-year Kid Koala, wherein we stroll with the ghosts of eras bygone.

Now put some o’ this in your nog.

Thursday – You can spend all your Christmas cheer and come out with your heart three sizes larger for it at the December installment of Hip Hop Karaoke at le Belmont.

In a new quasi-feature, the Shine will profile ambitious, brash, ballsy young HHK hopefuls, newcomers and return-performers alike, the week of the event. Our first contestant hits a double-header out the park straight out the bullpen. Up second outta 20-something contestants, Joseph Namie (aka Humanist) set the bar high early on with his take on the Beasties classic “Get It Together.” Nailing all four classic flows — including the classic Q-Tip guest verse, dodging its conspicuous minefield of forbidden N-words — Humanist stunned me with the fact that he only found out about the event and signed up the night before. A philosophy student, Namie saw the potential in HHK as a practice pad for his own nascent spoken word performance intentions, but felt the rush of real rap life when host DShade gave him a pound and a hug to huge applause. He’s back for more at this month’s HHK, and so is Cult MTL, so look out for us all there.

However, if you absolutely must have the real deal, then have it you shall. Local rap monarch incumbent Markings, whose Odd Man Out  sent out the old and brought in the new right around this time last year, gives a free show at En Cachette to perform songs from his upcoming Wayeb project — handing out free download cards to all, to boot — with guest Vincent Pryce on the decks.

FridayThe Hiram Key Project Part 2, curated by UrbN LogiX and featuring rappers from all corners and producers running in Piu Piu circles, takes place at Club Lambi. Concurrently, les Anticipateurs bet on la fin du monde at Underworld with guest Mook Tommy Kruise and more.

Saturday – Have yourself a beatbox-y little afternoon at BBAM! Gallery to the huffle ’n’ blow of mouthmaster XWam. Drop something in the gallery “hat” if you can. It’s also a good place to find a gift for an oddball you hold dear.

And if I don’t see you out at some of those spots first, see you next year and peace to you every day. ■


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