Attendance was low but the rhymes were hype as several Canadian Hip-Hop artists delivered at Ritual Nigthclub on June 13.
The headliner of the night was the Halifax rap legend, Jesse Dangerously. Unfortunately not many people attended the show and the numbers dwindle as the night went on, but it did not seem to faze Jesse. He rolled through a set chalked full of songs off his new record Humble & Brilliant, including “File ID.idz” and “Halifax Rap Legend.” Jesse did a wicked tribute to De La Soul with a remake of their hit “Ego Trippin (Part II).” After getting past the half way point of his set still wearing his shirt I was worried that I might be attending the first show in which he ever kept it on… he luckily saved me from that as he took off his shirt and jumped off stage to join us in the crowd. Closing out the night Jessie grabbed Textile from Homebased Crew and they tagged team a little freestyle for us. Look out America, Jesse Dangerously is on the verge of a fifty day USA tour so keep your ears and eyes open for that.
Atherton (Ottawa) began his set apologizing for not moving around very much because he split open his pinky toe. The man showed no sign of slowing down, heck he was unstoppable that night. He opened his set by digging into the vault playing songs from 2006, “Everything” and “Another Tough Monday.” The highlights for me was the song where he sampled The Verve Pipe’s ‘“Freshmen” and when he dropped “Kid On The Corner” with no beats. He finished out saying “Vote Atherton for mayo! Jim Watson I’m coming for ya. I’ll put an LRT from side to side, Orleans to Carp.” With that type of promise, he could really have a shot.
The show’s MC was Abstract Artform from Winnipeg, Manitoba and he got his set started in the crowd. With Relic spinning for him and Ambition backing up, he laid a bunch of new track on us. The most notable moment was at the beginning of the song “Hands Up” when he had the crowd put their hand in the air and open and close them, as directed by a recording. Also loved that he brought Relic out in front with him and asked the crowd for a word to inspire some freestyling. The first freestyle was about potatoes and the second about bar stools. Both were rather impressive.
Next up was the rest of the traveling acts Ambition (Halifax) and Relic (Toronto), with Abstract Artform as their hype man. Relic started as the DJ letting Ambition take the lead. Loved his piece “Anti Gravity” and the song with the chorus “Something to feel,” had a tight first verse with a ton of great basketball references. Halfway through their time Relic stepped out from behind the turn table and dropped the grooving song “Extra Mile.” My favourite line during their time was “Not white collar but we are suitable,” so slick.
Homebased Crew were the third act of the evening. Homebased are a rifle, the smooth precise delivery of Betavel, and a machine gun, the fast and in your face rapping of Textstyle. The duo are teamed up with the sweet stylings of DJ/producer Kane B. They promised to “rap in your face right now before the real act come on.” Another one of the local acts who held their own. Really liked their songs “We Lie” and “Weekend.”
No offense to the other acts, but Alex Silas was one of my highlights of the night and my new favourite hip-hop discovery. He has a buddy guitarist on stage with him which is very freaking cool and then he topped it off by playing some harmonica on his track “Delightfully Fucked Up.” The blues and punk inspired hip-hop was a lot of fun. He had very clever lyrics in his track “Hipster girl.” Check this local act out Ottawa.
Eddie Quotez, a Filipino representing Ottawa, kicked off the night. I really like his track where he sampled Ludacris. My favourite line from his set was “like a bad doctor, I’m losing patients.” He closed out his set with a very emotional piece providing a view into his tormented past.