Hyper-local hip hop

Check out these seven parties, six records, two videos & one Polaris Prize hopeful, all made in MTL.

Lemme set things off this week with a doff of the ol’Expos fitted to my man Jai Nitai Lotus. If this post on the Polaris website is any indicator, Nitai could find himself contending for a spot on the 2013 nominee list for this most coveted of Canadian music awards.

Granted, the post reflects one writer/panelist’s opinion, but home-bred hip hop from this island/mountain hybrid we live on, as we all know, tends not to hit the national radar unless it’s about a sports team or the language debate. While the fix is far from in on Something You Feel taking home the prize just yet, it is still extremely encouraging to see such a deserving piece of high art (and the talents that crafted it) receive its just exposure on the musical map.

And so I send a Shine high-five to Jai Nitai not just for making a dope record, but making the right moves to get it in the right hands. It’s a hustle many locals could learn a thing or two from.

Speakin’ of hustlin’ locals, before we get to the week in parties, I’m gonna pass you six joints to make your head spin, all free or pay-what-you-can and all from the motherland.

Between these six records, I daresay you’ll end up hearing somewhere in the vicinity of six-dozen varying skill sets from the city and province doing their thing in a variety of sonic settings.

Some of it will even make you wonder how a local music critic could possibly be so happy for a single artist getting mentioned at a national level with all this hard work and good music going on.

One good thing at a time, people, one good thing at a time — or maybe six, or six-dozen, as the situation dictates.

Various Artists, Booty Bakery Presents: Booty Based Mob Vol. 2 – Hot off the servers as of last weekend, I been jamming this ever since, basically, between episodes of Arrested Development, and every time I get ready to hear it again I practically blue myself in excited anticipation, and it’s a party every time.

Various Artists, 15-23.com Mixtape Vol. 5: L’After Party – I don’t know that I’d call this a “laughter party,” but this grimy-ass collection of beats and rhymes from across all corners of Montreal (and co-signed by WordUP Battles) is definitely best suited for well after dark.

Alaclair Ensemble, Les maigres blancs d’Amérique du Nord – The piu-petrators of Queb-nodic posse rap are back to some funktastic futurism. Simply a must.

Heart StreetsBeats, Blunts and Broads – You can hardly turn a corner these days without bumpin’ into Heart Streets, so if you’ve been crossing without lookin’ both ways, time to skip to the beat and see what the whole block is falling in heart with.

Hoods Congress, Burning Bridges –This one is particularly dear to the Shine right now. The homegirl Mayday (you know her from every DJ booth in town, notably her Saturday residency at Salon Officiel) saw my open call for submissions a coupla weeks back and fired these 10 rounds off on my inbox, effectively givin’ up that funk for you readers.

It harkens back to classic, gritty ’80s boom bap with a modern, club-seasoned spin on the contemporary. I asked permission to refer to this as “vintage chick rap,” as I really try to avoid playing the sex card as a point of interest, but I have to say, between her Bomb-Squad-ey production and balls-out rapping skills, Hoods Congress puts down the assault and the deadly pepa’ on her fresh-woman outing.

VNCE, Me & My DJ – The Dead Obies beat button-man is certainly one good reason among many his crew is growing stronger. This collection of cinematically spooky grooves comes largely stripped down to the bones of what VNCE does well, with occasional rhymes and remixes blending in smoothly or jarringly as necessary.

Before we get to those parties I promised — and there are some hot ones tonight — check these two brand new vids from the aforementioned Streets and Congress:

Lyrics, fan photos and good, clean web fun.


The metro, the Big O and two angry women.


Thursday – For the first time ever in Montreal (which is hard to believe as I type it), modern R&B legend and the godfather of the neo-soul movement D’Angelo brings his considerable chops to l’Olympia for what is sure to be a classic night in concert hall history.

For some swank rap shit, the key is in the hands of Pusha T, who co-headlines Club Soda with the far less compelling yet for some reason still kickin’ Fabolous.

Slide to En Cachette for the unofficial D’Angelo afterparty with beats care of Eric the Tutor.

Friday – Rap downtown and rap out west tonight. The Hiram Key Project brings installment six to Piranha Bar for the “floetic souls” edition, with event regulars in the booth and on the mic. Extra shout-out to Enzo the Biscuit Boy, who celebrates another candle in the cake by serving up grub for hungry hip hoppers in the building.

Meanwhile, End of the Month shuts down May at McAllan’s in Dorval, with live-band rap act Side C headlining a bill of upcoming local talent.

Sunday – Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson team up as Uncluded for an intimate evening of rap and folk at Il Motore. Check out my review of their record here, and keep an eye on cultmontreal.com tomorrow for a feature interview with the duo. Don’t miss this.

Monday – Synth-soul sista’ A K U A hasn’t been wasting any time putting a face to her name at home and in the R.O.C., and releases her debut EP, One’s Company, at le Belmont with guests Pegasus Warning and Holobody. ■



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