8 reasons to come back

Our hip hop column returns, just in time for a shit-ton of live rap & wicked parties this week, from the free outdoor action at OUMF to record launches by Eman x VLooper & Jai Nitai Lotus.

shineMan, I just couldn’t leave it alone.

You know what’s funny? I have still never even held a print copy of my “goodbye” column from back in February. Musta been an omen of some kind. It’s been seven months, minus a day. Hello again. Sorry for leaving you hanging.

I’m not even gonna look at it online now, but I think it went something like “I am too old for this shit now and burnt out. Peace.”

I dolled it up here and there but the truth was I was sick of having to opine week to week and then spew a bunch of shows at you. It felt less like a duty and more like a chore.

Thing was, I wasn’t seeing it as a duty then, and probably for even longer than I knew. A little hindsight has changed my perspective. And plus I got as sick as you’ve been of not knowing where the party at, all in one place.

Just putting this week’s show listings together — and lemme tell you, this is a fucking sick week to return, so read on, ladies and gentlemen — made me realize how outta the loop even I have been.

Thing is, it’s not a duty to you or to myself. It’s a duty to the sharing of good, clean information for everyone, everywhere. In a very positive way, my time away from The Shine column allowed me to focus in on my interview game. It gave me space to be more selective about what I feature in my longer form pieces, and less pressured by what I felt I had to listen to, talk about, comment on and engage with.

I tried to stay on top of interviewing the talented locals and stay connected to the scene. Those who realized I hadn’t flown the coop entirely started to ask me where I’ve been and why I stopped this, and to tell me how much it sucked.

And without answers, I sorta had to agree. I remember the two or three weeks at Mirror, after Scott C left, my heart nearly froze. Then the homie Morgan picked it up and the local hip hop scene had a voice again. And then I was lucky enough to catch that wave, and there we were with Cult MTL in the end, and here we are now.

What killed me was nobody really stepped up. I thought maybe there’d be some fresh blood down for the hunt and the free shit. But part of the truth, at least, is that a lotta local writers are invested in their own sites and projects providing a valuable service that takes up enough time as it is.

Another part of the truth is that being an arts journalist in 2014 means keeping a full-time side gig that gets in the way of your career. Ain’t life grand?

Please pardon that rather long digression. Being away from a weekly listings column and honing in on other aspects of reporting for a bit has re-ignited my will to keep the city’s party scene informed. I hope that it has also refined my capabilities to do so better.

Even if I can’t make it out all the time, I see you. I’m excited and happy to return to you with some stories when due, an opinion when necessary, and a devotion to keep my readers on the good foot.

Step with me.

Thursday: Don’t everybody like the smell of gasoline? It’s got a certain OUMF to it, don’t it? The annual, free, outdoor initiative from the folks at M for Montreal and les Trois Brasseurs takes over the Quartier Latin from tonight through afternoons and evenings into Saturday. Headlining tonight at 10 p.m. is multi-genre-boogie-tasker Karim Ouellet and all I can say is that is dope to introduce him as the first act of the Shine V2.0. De Maisonneuve & St-Denis, free

Slide to Cabaret Underworld for the launch of the beyond-wild XXL, hot off the press from Quebec City Alaclair Ensemble reps Eman & VLooper. KenLo also joins the party. 1403 Ste-Elisabeth, 9 p.m., $10

Friday: Burn, muthafucka, burn! The OUMF continues but good all day on some grimy goodness that mixes American dreaming with an apple pie sense of down-home Bas-Canadien reality. Don’t miss the Posterz at 6:30 p.m., followed by Heart Streets, les Anticipateurs and the full cast of Alaclair Ensemble in short order, with Misteur Valaire shutting it down at 10 p.m. De Maisonneuve & St-Denis, free

That’ll give everyone enough time to move to Petit Campus for the launch of Jai Nitai Lotus’s new mixtape and video, with a reconfigured live band, new sounds and guests Vox Sambou and the ubiquitous KenLo. 57 Prince-Arthur E., 9 p.m., $12

Saturday: Already? Dag.

In the nick of time, I am over the moon to spread word on the 10th anniversary of all-city juggernauts Nomadic Massive, putting down a hometown slam on le Belmont with a pay-what you can celebration of love, from 9 p.m. to closing. Andy Williams and Scott C work the extra muscle on the ones. 4483 St-Laurent, 9 p.m., suggested donation $10

It all ties together with the eMC – that’s master rap builders Masta Ace, a rarely-seen-in-MTL Punchline, Wordsworth and Stricklin, in full formation, with a meet ’n’ greet at Hip Hop Café, and the show at Blue Dog. Vancouver’s the Kids and Ottawa wreck-heavy crew Flight Distance open. Meet ‘n’ greet at 4801 Parc, 6-7 p.m., free / Show at 3958 St-Laurent, 8 p.m.–midnight, $10 advance

The eMC dudes absolutely roll tight, so I’d guess that one can easily get this in and head up the street to catch the Nomads, were one so inclined. Incline yourself up the Main, maybe stop for a slice, and dance all night.

Sunday:  Today you can actually sleep in from all that fun and then bounce back to the Hip Hop Café for An Afternoon With DJ Overflow.  A seasoned turntablist, Overflow’s got you on a  head-noddin’ hangover remedy. 4801 Parc, 4–8 p.m., free

EXTRA HEADS-UP: Empire ZOONight, a gaddang lion of a yearly custom comes to age at 15, shooting its greatest load yet next Friday, Sept. 12,  with a double bill featuring the foolin’est, golden’est guy in the city (well…still livin’ in the city, all due respect to A-Trak) High Klassified and Bed-Stuy king Talib Kweli. This jam is only $15. Do you see what they did there? They want to make sure you come. 1280 St-Denis, 10 p.m., $15

I just wanna make you come back. I don’t wanna leave it alone again. ■


Follow The Shine on Twitter @ShineCultMTL and join the Facebook community for more local rap knowl.