K6A are on some real MTL rap shit

The 22 writers, rappers and producers of K6A bend rules of punctuation, perception and profile across the city and province.



Under a full orange moon, a scarce breed of nocturnal creatures congregates on a fifth-floor East End fire escape for a gathering rare in scale.

Beer cans clang against iron steps, the whole structure occasionally gyrating to the rhythm of passing trains, while six types of smoke weave through a dozen distinct laughs and slang in at least three discernible languages.

Damn, what is this?

The 22 writers, rappers and producers of K6A — “Raccoon’ Roll” all-nighters to the core — bend rules of punctuation, perception and profile across the city and province.

And as sure as you’re wondering what K6A is, someone is out there right now bumping their shimmering new album KOSSÉCA !?!, admiring the style of a K6A graf mural or slapping down a sticker of their ubiquitous “!?!” logo — possibly all three at once.

K6A are out to colour the city’s atmosphere in the many shades of their artistic aesthetic.

“Painting stories and writing pictures,” one member puts it, while “writers in the booth, rappers in the street,” echoes throughout their recording studio as a mantra. “C’est quoi l’question?” also emerges as a happily confused theme.

Roll call begets a chaotic mix of real names, graff names and entirely made-up-on-the-spot names, too many to list. More telling is that each member signs off with 12-step-like introduction: “K6A.”

Formed 12 years ago from the foundations of a smaller South Shore writing crew, K6A work began to emerge across the cityscape subtly but surely, bombing “un peu de tout” — a train car here, a wall there, a tunnel ‘round the way.

raccoon graf (600x391)Their numbers grew as their message began to ring around the city and its outskirts, with like-minded writers joining the fold. Shared appreciations for shrooms and hip hop brought sounds to the mix as rappers, producers and musicians among their ranks converged to expand the hive mind, mutating to a band within a clan as naturally as paint adheres to a surface.

Now, in the studio upstairs from their acclaimed DIY gallery/workspace, A’Shop (yup, that’s K6A, too), an impromptu dance party breaks out as a beatmaker takes to the drum kit in the corner and a rapper begins a freestyle homage to Jackie Robinson, spurred on by a new Montreal Royals fitted designed and delivered by Montrealistik, another K6A production.

The increasingly prestigious province-wide Word Up! battle league is yet another arm of K6A’s self-styled Ganesha. Through symbolic representation of hip hop culture, the discussion occasionally turns toward the mystic, but this merry band of brothers keep it grounded even when closest to the clouds.

“Have you ever been on a rooftop, a place that is really, really special to you?” one writer asks.

“Take that feeling and multiply it by creating something you really love, up there in that special place. Imagine what that is.”

“Rap engager, graff engager, c’est notre message,” says an MC, simple and plain.

“Piu piu painting,” a writer jokes.

“You make it the daily routine, and you need it. It’s a higher purpose.”

That’s what it is. ■


K6A open for  Alaclair Ensemble, alongside DJ Thierry Malépart, at a Halloween party taking place at Lion d’Or (1676 Ontario E.) tonight, Thursday, Oct. 31, 9 p.m., $30

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