Rap drought at Jazz Fest

The Bell stage may be groovin’ but where’s the headlining hip hop in the Jazz Fest’s concert halls? Good thing there are enough shows & DJ nights elsewhere to keep heads occupied. Look here, we’ll tell you what’s up.

Summer is official, and equally official is the total lack of indoor hip hop shows at the Jazz Festival. What gives, Jazz Fest?

Sure, the Bell Groove stage will still hold you down with some free, mostly local and very promising outdoor sets at 10 p.m. nightly. But what happened to the RZAs, the GZAs, the PEs, the Rootses, the De Las, the Deltrons and the Maestros?

Granted, for the past decade if not more, a significant portion of its core audience has been asking “Where’s the jazz, Jazz Fest?”

So I guess I can finally empathize, though traditionalists and purists might not so much empathize with me…actually, a cacophony of impromptu emotions erupts in my mind just to consider it. Maybe it’s the reefer.

But this is the fest that got the late, great pioneer of hip hop culture Gil Scott-Heron on stage about three summers back while, at the same time, Shad ripped it for free outside and up the street. And I’m sure someone, somewhere, was also being entertained by a string quintet or a Dixieland combo.

I’m in no way insinuating that there’s some kind of new policy at play with fest organizers — in fact, the whole thing seems a little scaled back this year. Boz Scaggs? And purists would disagree with my rap-centric discord?

Regardless, there’s no shortage of dope shows coming at us all the way through summer, starting nicely this week with a little homegrown, some exotics and other fine blends.

Pick up the best-burning paper in town, Cult MTL (well, we were voted something like that by you awesome readers, anyways), next Thursday, July 4, to keep yourself wrapped up in it all, ‘cause the Shine is crashing there for the summer, eating the groceries and leaving the doors unlocked.

And I’ll have plenty of time for griping about what shows aren’t coming when I’m livin’ in a food truck down by the Lachine Canal.

Here’s what bops this week.

Thursday – In a city that loves food so much, no one is more welcome than the chef, and if it’s rap sustenance for the soul one seeks, the Wu’s Raekwon is in the kitchen at le Belmont with local support from Hustle Cartel, K13, Cee & Dr. MaD and more. Rae is a familiar face in Montreal for good reason, and with non-stop well-done records coming off his grill year to the next, every show mixes the new and the classic pristinely. Don’t miss it.

If you still want food, but it’s dancing that soothes your soul, Artbeat Montreal bring it to a different kinda dining room at resto-bar En Cachette with East Coast DJ supreme Rich Medina up jumping every kind of boogie to the rhythm of the boo-giddy beat. Mark the Magnanimous, NooBap and Engone Endong help make sense of that.

Friday – More buttery hot goodness in the oven with Booty Bakery: Spacehall Edition. Da-P, Cyber, the Celestics, Tom Lemann and Booty Based Mob-sters Bongiovanni, Phil Sparkz and Compton Chic salute the coming of soon-to-drop new BB EP, straight off the still-blazing tails of Booty Based Mob Vol. 2 comp.

Meanwhile, le Belmont receives West Coast dance weirdos gLAdiator with guests Groll Street and June.

Saturday – Please you, please them, please somebody, but Salon Officiel’s Please Me rez Mayday brings Vilify to the booth, so, like James said, “Please, please, please.” With that in mind, get ready for the uber-ill weekly’s anniversary later next month. Stay tuned for details.

Sunday – This is such a dope concept and it got rained out a few weeks back, so here it is again: Artbeat Montreal runs Waxiology Sessions, an outdoor vinyl trading post, at Parc Jeanne-Mance from 1 p.m. Show up with at least five vinyls of any format, trade up, down, around, whatever works for you, with one caveat: no money trades, so it’s part good times, part sociological experiment. Nah — strictly good times.

Monday – Extra weekend means extra freakin’, and Casa del Popolo is your place to get it on this Canada Day, when Baltimore-cum-Montreal, globe-trotting indie rap classic BluRum13 brings it home to celebrate his upcoming Inverted project, backed by a live band including Conn-Shawnery and R33, and in the special company of lover/fighter/documentarian Jonathan Emile and keys-drums-and-chord-riding rapper Bad Weather as the trio kick off a series of summer dates at home and beyond.

Bringing some of those rare grooves to the aforementioned Bell Jazz Fest stage, Sarah Linhares and Future Falcon soar accompanied by a crème-de-la-creme line-up of Montreal musicianship from 10 p.m.

Tuesday – Somebody, anybody, everybody has something you’ll feel back at the Bell Groove stage at 10 p.m., when Jai Nitai Lotus & the Something You Feel Experience, a blinding line-up of local stars, bring the sounds of Nitai’s acclaimed 2012 LP to life under the great wide night sky.

If you so like, you can bring it crashing right back down to the streets nearby at Cabaret Underworld, where NYC grime-sayers Block McCloud & Blacastan bring the Army and Demigodz to the battle for hip hop’s soul. ■



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