Monday, July 29

* King of the Dot Champions at Le Belmont
* There’s Something Funny Going On at Blue Dog
* The Burgundy Lion’s quiz night
* Divers/Cité launches with an outdoor screening of Pina

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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.

Ace and the whole

Looking ahead to next week’s Under Pressure / Cult MTL co-presentation of the Beaux Degats art battle and show feat. Masta Ace, Wordsworth, Toronto’s Citizen Kane and MTL’s own L.E.S. (among others) PLUS this week in hip hop, from Heart Streets and the Hiram Key Project to Action Bronson and Sweatshop Union.

Pot-shots and punchlines

Rappers gone wild as Rick Ross, Chris Brown and even R&B hipster-bait Frank Ocean come to blows, PLUS the deets you need for the essential parties, DJ nights and other hip hop happenings in the city this week.

Blessings in the beat

The West Island’s David Hodges is local hip hop’s conscience. The prolific producer, MC, community organizer, teacher, showman and promoter follows 2010’s introspective, concept-driven How to Become a Resilient Garden with a lighter touch: an overtly poppy rap record, lavish with catchy, hit-worthy hooks and easily ingestible rhythms deliberately designed to take the edge off the lyricist’s penchant for deeper thought.

Habitat happenin’s

The all-new Expérience MTL festival is well underway on its stomping grounds at the Olympic Park. Though I won’t bear witness till Saturday, I’m legit excited. Any move to open up new spaces and spread culture and entertainment affordably sounds good by me.
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the Big O and the whole gadding scenario out est are pretty much taken for granted by anyone who doesn’t live there or isn’t a tourist.

Under Pressure in-depth

Cult MTL’s hip hop columnist covered last weekend’s Under Pressure festival from top to bottom. His photos capture the event’s art, dance, fans, vibes and a few of its famous faces. And his daughter Mélodie.

Thursday, Aug. 9

* New Rant Line™
* Fantasia’s final day
* Entre Nymphes and Nerfs vernissage
* Skate or Die film series
* Comedy and hip hop at Underworld
* Weird and wonderful sounds at Casa

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Under Pressure up ‘n’ up

People often ask me why Montreal doesn’t have a hip hop festival, musing that promoters don’t work hard enough, or want too much money, or that “artists don’t respect us.”

There are elements of each observation (save the last) that at least invite intelligent analysis. Usually I point out that Montreal’s economy and the proportionate audience for a hip hop event can’t justify the risk it takes to put something like that together. Ask some of these local so-called “greedy local rap promoters” what special hell a single rapper can put them through.