REVIEW: A$AP Rocky, Testing

A$AP’s consistent avant-garde approach is something to appreciate, yet doubling down on it this time around may be too much for his own good.

Sunday, March 17

* St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
* Hey Boo: Harper Lee and “To Kill a Mockingbird”
* The Luck of Ginger Coffey
* A$AP Rocky @ Bell Centre
* Jon Mckiel, Big Brave, Quaker Parents and In Hock
* Babi AUDI and BB Cream spin Petit Core @ Casa

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Danny Brown on the A$AP tour & his protégé Kitty Pryde

Detroit rapper Danny Brown has been amassing fans left, right and centre since the release of his 2011 sophomore album XXX. Rare is the hip hop head whose ice grill doesn’t crack a grin at his name’s mere mention, but Brown is also admired outside rap circles by fans of progressive sounds, style and indie attitude.
We caught up briefly on Tuesday at noon, not typically meet-the-press time for the average nighthawk rap star. Currently touring with Harlem’s A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q and Flatbush Zombies, I decided not to ask what the unholy scream I heard in the background was before he ducked into the hallway to speak.

Stupid in yo’ area

I think I do a pretty good job at staying diplomatic in my coverage of the local hip hop scene, but I’ve been met with the backlash of being “too nice” to local artists, and of not wanting to offend them.
That’s hilarious because I don’t care who fuckin’ likes me as long as they’re not fake about it, and I have no reason to. It’s a small city, and most of us in it are pretty chill people. It’s diplomacy that allows me to manoeuvre through Montreal’s streets credibly and with mutual respect.
True, though, that it’s not okay to just give a pass to anyone trying to get over. But if I’ve been quietly concerned about fragility, it’s had less to do with some of the egos and hubris out here, and more to do with the nagging sensation that our scene feels like it could just as adequately be reported by the Doomsday Clock.

411 is a joke

One of the most cheek-biting circumstances I’ve found myself in over years of covering hip hop is this all-too-typical exchange with friends:
Friend: Hey, what are you doing tonight?
Me: Going to see “Rapper X-Y-Z.”
Friend: X-Y-Z is in town?!? Why didn’t you tell me?!?
Me: Oh, sorry, you’re right! I only interviewed him, published it in a newspaper, reminded people in my column in said newspaper, spammed the entire Internet with the content — but yeah, sorry I didn’t call.
But okay, so, attention spans being what they are in this day and age, I can’t get too self-righteous. Instead, I thought I would take the time this week to put a few upcoming events on your fall concert radar. As they approach, expect more in-depth coverage, but start planning now for some crazy ish.

Osheaga, fuck yeah

Filthy, wet, calloused, tattered and lightly battered, Cult MTL is back from the field. And what a fucking field.