hiphopkaraoke_crowd.jpg

Hip-Hop Karaoke Flows Into The Boat

(Update: This was a preview of the first Hip-Hop Karaoke Toronto event. Read reviews here.)

Popular as the Gladstone's Melody Bar remains with patrons crooning their best Meat Loaf and Motown, the official Toronto debut of Hip-Hop Karaoke tests performers' skills on the mic with a fresh approach -- not to mention a songbook update. Straight outta Stillepost's heads-up (and based on the successful NYC event of the same name), the Never Forgive Action crew -- DJs Dalia and Numeric (aka exclaim! mag's Noel Dix) and host More or Les -- bust out with a promising new showcase for local MCs (of the sucker variety and otherwise depending on who you ask).

At the Wavelength 350 panel discussion last week -- an imagining of how Toronto's diverse spheres of independent music, arts and culture could overlap, and how that might work -- Les brought up In Divine Style, HHK TO's predecessor as an open-mic format MC event. (The final IDS happened just over a year ago.) "Underground is to rap what indie is to rock," he pointed out, saying events like IDS and HHK, which give underground and unsigned MCs a chance to perform, "are really about getting the opportunity to do own thing, people from all walks of life." [UPDATE: Clarification: Unlike at IDS, HHK participants cannot perform their own rhymes, and instead must perform one of the tracks from the catalogue provided.]

Citing the monthly HeadsConnect mixed-bag jam Rhythmicru hosts -- at the last one, following iNSiDE a MiND's weird, wonderful beat science, Les went off on a favourite topic: brunch -- Les made note of the monthly event's inclusive approach: "Rhythmicru don't care who you are ... you're cool with the rapping stuff? They want to know you." The MC, DJ and, of late, Herbaliser collaborator, thinks Hip-Hop Karaoke could further that openness. (CBC Radio's Big City Small World recorded the discussion; girl-about-town Tori Allen debriefs with host Garvia Bailey on the Feb 17 show.)

The new Toronto party's MySpace page (other spinoff chapters include London and Iceland) emphasizes its Vanilla Ice-free vibe as an opportunity for "closet MCs" and pros to flow on their favourites tracks: "Using all original instrumentals we provide hundreds of classic jams for everyone to flex their lyrical skill, from the seasoned hip-hop veteran to the casual fan. ... Who I'd like to meet: Maestro Fresh Wes and Michie Mee ... You better come to Hip-Hop Karaoke!" (Which classic jams you ask? Try these ones, for starters.)

You never know -- Big Daddy Kane showed up and threw down at one HHK NYC event, ditto Jeru The Damaja -- and just last month, New York magazine reported that Rhymefest rocked Biz Markie's"Just A Friend.")

HHK Toronto, like its predecessors, will provide the beats, the lyrics and the hype, so all you need to do is bring it -- and yourself -- on the mic.

Hip-Hop Karaoke Toronto
Sign Up at 9PM, Show at 10.
Thursday, February 15 at The Boat (158 Augusta Ave.). $5

Image by Rick Purcell used with permission from Hip-Hop Karaoke NYC


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Music

Shooting at Toronto live music venue prompts questions about security

Drake is officially launching a cannabis wellness company in Toronto

Arkells clap back at Doug Ford after comments about Hamilton

Drake is launching his own weed brand

People are getting mysterious flower deliveries from Drake in Toronto

Drake gets invite from former elementary school for 100th year celebration

One of Toronto's newest live music venues shuts down after less than a year

Win tickets to Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera