Here’s Where It All Began: Hip-Hop and Poetry @ The Daily Grind

Here’s Where It All Began

There’s a new monthly in town and its name is Here’s Where It All Began. Founded by local poet, spoken word artist, and rapper PrufRock of Missing LinX and rapper/producer Swayze, Here’s Where It All Began is hosted the 4th Saturday of every month at The Daily Grind art café on Somerset Street W. I had the pleasure of attending their 3rd installment Saturday night, which featured performances by rapper Ikor Vein and hip-hop trio Poetic Elements, with music for the night provided by DJ ScratchMarx.

Before I touch on the performers I’d like to talk about ScratchMarx. Member of the now past local collective The Reds, ScratchMarx is no stranger to the local Ottawa scene. Playing a solid mix of hip-hop subgenres, ScratchMarx’s crate included everything from jazz-infused hip-hop, to international rap from Europe and beyond, to break beat style jams reminiscent of a 1980s breakdance competition. The diverse range of music kept the night feeling fresh and kept me always paying attention to what the next track would be.

First up to bat that night was local rapper Ikor Vein. A veteran of the hip-hop community and member of now past groups Techtoniks and The Reds, I was looking forward to this set quite a bit. Starting his set off with an a cappella, Ikor wasted no time making it clear what makes him distinctive as an MC. Ikor has the uncanny ability to weave together words in intricate and impressive combinations while taking absolutely no shortcuts in what he’s actually saying. My favourite moment of his set was his bar, “the only thing to fear is fear itself, so open up your heart ‘till you can hear it melt.’

Closing the night off was local hip-hop trip Poetic Elements, consisting of rapper, poet, and spoken word artist Apollo The Child, rapper and producer Masai The Nasa Kid, and producer and finger drummer Prophet-One. On the last leg of a three-day run of back-to-back shows, the P EL boys were as always in top form.  Performing songs off of their Diamond Life EP, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Poetic Elements is mastering the live performance aspect of their craft. Apollo gave the crowd a glimpse deeper into the man behind the mic with a pair of spoken word pieces that added to the already intimate nature of the night. Specifically, his piece on the pejorative “pussy” instantly became one of my favourite spoken word pieces from the city.

The night as a whole had a very intimate vibe, and was full of smiles and laughs. I for one am looking forward to seeing more of what PrufRock and Swayze have planned for the future. Peace, love, and community.