It’s that time of year again! Call me introspective but I love taking the time to reflect on the best moments of year that passed and preparing for the year to come. Things happen way to quickly these days and my memory has never been my forte so these end of year lists are the one of my favorite indulgences. Enjoy!
Top 5 albums
Black Radio – Robert Glasper
Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde – Gummy Soul [Amerigo Gazaway]
Something You Feel – Jai Nitai Lotus
Sunwalk – Modlee & Vlooper
The Good Fight – Krystale & Kaytranada
Top 5 Mixtapes
Collation Vol.1 – Dead Obies
Supafam Mixtape – Nomadic Massive
1999 – Joey Bada$$
The Bite Marked Heart – Brother Ali
Soul Sisters Stand Up – Skracth Bastid & The Gaff
Top 5 tracks
If (Janet Jackson Remix) – Kaytranada
Midnight – Nomadic Massive
Magic Look – Marques Toliver
Thinking ’bout You – Frank Ocean
Five – RT Beat
Top 5 Shows
Kalmunity Vibe Collective [Dilla Night], July 16th @ The Savoy [Jazz Festival]
Robert Glasper [Black Radio], February 24th @ Gésu Theatre
Jai Nitai Lotus [Something You Feel Launch], November 21st @ O’Patro Vys
The Narcicyst [Last show in Montreal .. for a minute], July 4th @ Bell Groove Stage [Jazz Festival]
Slum Village, BIG Pooh, & Dr. Mad from Alaiz, May 24th @ The Belmont
Top 5 Artists of the Year
Rose Pacesix [aka Sikk]
*Late Addition: Aisha C. Vertus
You didn’t think I’d leave y’all hanging did you?
Here’s some of the footage from the Nomad’s Mixtape Launch on July 21st. Play that baby in HD!
Nomadic Massive is such an essential part of the Hip Hop community in Montreal that it almost feels ridiculous to give them an introduction but just in case you didn’t know let’s go a head and back track.
So back in 2004, a couple of great like-minded artists from the city linked up for what was supposed to be a one-time collaboration for the 10th International Hip Hop Festival of Cuba. Many a tales have come from that trip but all we know for sure is that it solidified one of the most important collectives this city has ever seen. Coming from such a beautiful medley of cultures and backgrounds they created a sound that has yet to be imitated and could never be duplicated.
In 2006, we got a real feel for their high skill in lyricism when they dropped their EP Nomad’s Land. Spitting in over 6 languages and laying down head bumping beats already had us hooked but when you started breaking down the verses you realized that these cats weren’t just here to play. Tracks like OWD (Oil, Weapons, and Drugs) were packed with some serious knowledge dropping. When my 17-year-old hands got a hold of this gem, my mind’s horizon widened by at least two fields. Had I known at the time that this was only one of Nomadic’s mission statements I would probably be even further in life now. Behind their music making the Nomads were all highly involved in community building whether it be as teachers, youth workers, and health professionals or with projects such a No Bad Sound Studio and the Concordia Hip Hop Symposium. Amazingly enough, their influence did not stop there. With the international connections they gained over the years they became what I like to call Hip Hop ambassadors creating strong bonds with communities all over the globe, which benefited all parties and has opened doors for many other local artists who have followed in their footsteps.
In 2009, they dropped their second album Nomadic Massive, which was a moment capture of what you could expect at Nomad show; HIGH ENERGY. If you’ve ever seen them perform Reveye live you know exactly what I mean.This album and the series of amazing performances that came after its release had them clocked as Best Hip Hop Group (Montreal Mirror) for 3 years in a row and a reoccurring feature at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Now, it’s been 3 years since their last drop and though they’ve kept us quite satisfied with live shows, solo performances and side projects such as Hip Hop Revival, it’s about time that we got something that we can take home! This Saturday our thirst will finally be quenched with the launch of their new mixtape SUPAFAM. We were teased with the release of the title single and amazing video so I can only imagine how unbelievable this is gonna be. Plus what a great name for their mixtape because if there’s one thing you’ll notice when you see Nomadic, is that they always roll with a supafam (and yes, you’re part of it).
Nomadic Massive’s SUPAFAM release show ft. Kaytradamus + Dr. Mad (Alaiz)
The Belmont (4483 Blvd. St-Laurent)
10$ (Incl. download code for mixtape)
First 100 guests get an exclusive Tape (yup I said tape)
Big Shouts to Nik Brovkin for the artwork.
Oh and did I mention that Nomadic has completely stepped the video clip game up in Montreal. I mean seriously all the videos they’ve put out even down to just their promo videos have been absolutely priceless.
This Week’s show was particularly huge!
As always we began with a quick Hip Hop News Feed so S/O to Sikk for her new website pacesix, Jjanice+ for his new video ‘Aléas’, Hala Alsalman for getting a spot at the New Port Beach film festival for her Film Bêtes Humaines, Simahlak for working with the guys from Lonely Island and dropping the beat for Spin the Globe, Sarah MK,The Narcycist and Nomadic Massive for landing spots at the Jazz Fest and last but not least BIG S/O to Karim Ouellet and Kaytradamus for landing spots at Osheaga!
We followed up with a talk spot about the political situation in Montreal which unfortunately seems to be awfully stagnant on the government’s part. To Lighten up the day though we had a great interview with Dr. Mad (Beat maker extraordinaire and member of Alaiz) about his current projects and trip to California which was followed another amazing interview with Aisha C Vertus where she also told us about their trip to Cali but mainly talked about the highly anticipated Piu Piu Documentary that she’s working on right now. It’s was a pretty epic episode so be sure to listen to it right here!
We also took the opportunity to RAVE about how great the new Dead Obies album ‘Collation vol.1’ and luckily for y’all we were able to book an interview with them this Thursday so be sure to tune in to CJLO 1690AM (www.cjlo.com) from 11-1pm.
Respects to Nik Brovkin for the great Piu Piu artwork
Walking into the Gésu Theatre on Friday night I already had high expectations for the Robert Glasper show. The few pre-releases from his album ‘Black Radio’ had been on replay on my Ipod for weeks and I had only read rave reviews for this tour. As I searched for my seat I ran into at least a dozen elite members of the Montreal music industry. It’s quite clear that you’re going to be part of something extremely special when members of Nomadic Massive, Alaiz, Ruckus and Kalmunity all make it out.
As people shuffled into their seats there was much talk about the drums, bass and saxophones set up along side Glasper’s pianos, this was clear confirmation that the rumors were correct; Glasper came along with his notorious Trio: Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge and Mark Colenburg [Unfortunately Chris Dave didn’t make it out but Mark blew our minds anyway]. Just as the last person settled into the intimate Gésu hall, Robert Glasper and the fellas strolled on stage, rocking their day-to-day flair, unassumingly approaching their instrument of choice. The level of comfort and trust between the musicians was immediately apparent and Glasper joined the audience into that intimacy by joking around and responding to our every giggle, sigh, and applaud. Though everyone in the crowd was aware that they were about to experience superior quality music, it was clear that all the chichi jazz etiquette was out the window and that people were encouraged to express their enthusiasm during the performance.
The four-tet started off with a continuous hour mix of improvisation and pieces off of ‘Black Radio’, Glasper’s recent album. It was an absolute music-trance; our heart rates rose and fell with the rhythm of the drums, the saxophone solos took our breath away, the bass keep our minds in check and Glasper’s piano keys were shivers down the spine. The musicians played together proficiently and harmoniously yet were still highlighted in their uniqueness. The solos they shared with the audience not only exposed their amazing talent but also the grander and capability of each instrument. Casey Benjamin deserves a special mention for his innovative skill on four instruments: the alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, vocoder and keyboards. The first set would’ve already been more than your bucks worth, but Glasper and the band continued on for another hour with more material and a very special J Dilla tribute. Robert Glasper’s versatile musical background creates so much depth to his arrangements and makes his repertoire widely accessible for the masses. He covers J Dilla classics just as smoothly as he remixes Nirvana classics and all that with the essence of jazz in mind. Hip-Hop fans, R&B fans, Soul fans, Rock fans and Jazz fans, all became one for those two hours: True music fanatics.
With all the pretensions, typecasting and genre-barriers out the way, people were able to focus on the creation rather the creators, which in my mind is what the Robert Glasper Experiment is all about.
Be sure to pick up a copy of his new album ‘Black Radio’ to be part of this experiment.