The Best (hip hop) of MTL

Congrats, shoutouts and handshakes to the 514 rappers, producers, club DJs and electronic acts who came out on top in Cult MTL’s first-ever hyper-local readers poll. PLUS what’s up at Francofolies, the MURAL Festival, the Main’s street sale & more.

First off, congrats to all participants in Cult MTL’s first-ever Best of MTL poll for voting with your tastes, and not with the first random thing that came to mind in categories you didn’t really give a shit about.

Huge shoutouts to our hip hop Top 5, namely Nomadic Massive, Cadence Weapon, Alaclair Ensemble, Clarity and Kalmunity, in that order. These artists are indeed among local hip hop’s best.

Handshakes to Vilify and Construct for respectively grabbing the top two spots in the Best Club DJ category, and to Jacques Greene and Lunice, for their respective number two and three rankings in our Best Electronic Act category behind poll favourite Grimes.

It’s heartening to see Kalmunity take the top spot for jazz act, as well as to see my old friend Franco Proietti, given his band the Morph-Tet’s incredible talent, edge up to spot number two in the same category, beating out Colin Stetson, who ranked with a respectable number three.

Sarah MK takes the fifth spot for Best Singer/Songwriter, which you gotta figure feels pretty good when you are a mere three integers away from Montreal icon Leonard Cohen. Is that a debut SMKLCL album I hear being recorded, or just Montreal’s sexiest baby ever being conceived?

A huge congrats to all of the above, and thanks again so much to our readership for taking the time and energy to make this count. If you want to see more, Top 10 lists in every category are available here.


People occasionally ask me why I’ve so ardently supported Hip Hop Karaoke Montreal since its inception two years back. I like to break it down like this: HHK is by rap fans, for rap fans, and is by design not an open-mic or a spot for would-be MCs to freestyle, so that gets rid of pretense on the “hip hop” side of things.

Then we gotta deal with the idea of “karaoke” – admittedly a tougher sell for hip hop fans, let alone the average scofflaw.

But this isn’t your drunk uncle’s karaoke: no 12-drink-uninhibited walk-ons allowed! In fact, no walk-ons, period. Performers sign up weeks in advance, working out their delivery, presence, choreography and costumes with no other intent than to entertain the crowd with that one rap song they love, and with no bouncing ball.

Some might say HHK is pretty “cult”…well, I just fuckin’ said it, anyways.

But word, in the name of total transparency and balanced journalism, Cult MTL is proud to be a media sponsor for HHK, and D-Mac doth solemnly swear that HHK is a reliably entertaining rap experience and a uniquely unifying good time.

Judge for yourself with these performance vids from last month’s installment, and I hope to personally issue you a copy of this month’s print edition of Cult MTL at le (Best-of-MTL-sweeping) Belmont at HHK next Thursday. Keep an eye on Cult MTL’s Twitter and Instagram for cool contest packages.


In the “go ill it” file, meanwhile, here’s a hearty Shine send-off for all the Montreal artists on their beat and/or rhyme grind going out to NXNE to rep up at Toronto’s answer to the Austin indie music juggernaut.

We salute Tommy Kruise, Vincent Pryce, Shogun, Tronald Trump, Jai Nitai Lotus, Loe Pesci, Markings, Full Course, Ceas Rock, Borden and Guilty, all about to rock Hogtown this weekend. May the Fords be with you.

Here’s the best of this week and it’s packed like glass pipes, itches.

Thursday – Boot Camp Click officials Smif N’ Wessun make it go bang at le Belmont. Reminisce for a spell with this interview I did with Tek and Steele last year.

Meanwhile, David Hodges & the Honest Family launch a debut collective record and “Save Your Soul” at the Crowley Arts Centre. Feel good about feelin’ good with SRH, Stephanie Parnell, Ben Cardilli and the rest of the Fam bleeding thick.

Friday – Tokyo gets NYC’s legendary Tony Touch all up its terrasse.

At Café Chaos, brothers from another continent Cee and Notion turn it Aus a notch to kick off a series of summer dates here, there and about with Alaiz’s Dr. MaD. Winnipeg’s Abstract Artform gets it Prairie up in our dairy air.

Saturday – LNDMRK’s inaugural MURAL Fest is well underway by now, so why not go peep the installations in the works to the sounds of the Oshee & Aga Block Party from noon to 10 p.m., with Jean Bart & RRKelly, KenLo, Ryan Hemsworth, Kaytranada, Grandtheft and more.

Keep it movin’ at Blue Dog Motel for an official MURAL afterparty, You & Me with Bongiovanni, Girl Problems and Shaqah Zulu.

I don’t know the franglais for “pre-game,” but Silence on rap! unleashes the rap onflux that is Francofolies, with Karma Atchykah’s Silence d’Or Records opening up the gates with a roster including Shash’U, Chub-e Pelletier, Dirty Taz, Mauvais Acte and many more golden greats.

Sunday – Divan Orange gets it in with a crazy vernissage at 7 p.m. and Heart Streets, M.O.S. and more later on and into dawn.

You can also close out MURAL at Balroom with High Klassified, Truspin and more.

Monday – Get your high anxiety on with les Anticpateurs at Katacombes.

TuesdayAgua Negra flows on Francofolies’s la Presse stage with full live band accompaniment and guest spots from Obia le Chef, Boogat, Markings and many more.

Wednesday – Nomad Pre-eminent Vox Sambou takes the Francos stage at Ste-Cat’s and Clark at 7 p.m.

Later, K6A punctuate the party back at la Presse’s stage from 10 p.m. ■


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