2014 appears to be the year of Hip-Hop when it comes to the Halifax Pop Explosion’s line-up, with acts such as critical favorite Danny Brown, fan favorites and Wu-Tang alumni Raekwon (the Chef) and Ghostface Killah, Canadian Sensation SonReal and local favorites Ambition, Quake Matthews and Mike Boyd. With that murderers row of well known acts, there are plenty of up-and-comers such as Jay Mayne, Thrillah, and Weirdo Click to check out as well, so to say that the hip-hop scene is well represented would be an understatement.
The act that most excited me about the 2014 HPX line-up hands-down was SonReal. His Napoleon Dynamite-esque video for the insanely catchy 2013 track “Everywhere We Go” put him squarely on my radar, but with each subsequent single SonReal releases, he continues to exceed expectations and impresses top to bottom from his flow right through to the production. SonReal always struck me as the west coast equivalent to the east coast’s Classified, and this is one artist I plan on book-ending Wednesday night with (@7pm he is on the bill with headliner Lights at the Forum Multi-Purpose Centre, and then he’s closing the day out at 1am @ Reflections Cabaret). Have a listen to SonReal’s track “Believe” and hear for yourself that the spirit of hip-hop is alive and well.
Coming in at a close second for me, was Danny Brown, a talented emcee hailing from Detroit, Michigan. While Brown’s flow might be comparable to another well known (read mainstream) Detroit emcee, the comparison ends there. You may recognize his wild teased out hair, or his somewhat disheveled appearance, but the moment you place a mic in this man’s hands, magic happens. Just have a listen to his track “Grown Up”, and make your way to the Forum Multi-Purpose Centre on Saturday night for his set (with Click Weirdo, Tennyson and Ryan Hemsworth).
Here are a few other tracks to wet your whistles for the upcoming week:
Ambition – “Down on my Luck”
Quake Matthews feat. Dylan Guthro – “Summertime Win”
Quake Matthews feat. SonReal and Kayo – “Go Hard”
Thrilla Kane feat. Jay Mayne – “Zip Ya Lips”
and last but not least…
Mike Boyd w. Classified – “This Ain’t Funny”