As a pretext, I have to admit, I am an incurable beat junkie with a not so guilty penchant for karaoke. So, before I even stepped into Le Belmont for my first ever dose of Hip Hop Karaoke, it was already a winner in my mind. But there was more to it than that. It had a unique vibe that brought it over the top and beyond expectations. Close your eyes for a second and try to envision the last girl you would ever think capable of ripping apart (in a good way) Azealia Banks’ “212”, dirty lyrics and all. Yup. Maybe that was it.
Or maybe it was Geni-Lou and Elie-Anne who opened the night, not with a mic in their hands, but poppin’ and lockin’ to the beats like it was nobody’s business. Or the backward-suited guy who made his way through an impressive rendition of Kris Kross’s “Jump” without making it sound frat boy or cliché. Possibly, it was the rapper in the Habs cap with the most mesmerizing delivery of the night, or the self-proclaimed heavy smoker who warned the crowd he might run out of breath but yet still managed to deliver about a million words per second, or the guy who followed humbly, not being sure if he could live up to what he just heard but then ended up spitting out the tightest of lyrics. It could have possibly been the guy/girl duo who chose “Empire State of Mind” reversing the roles of the original by having the guy cleverly Frank Sinatra-ing the chorus, or the lady trio Olives and Pepper who nailed “Cool Like That”, leaving the DJ with hearts in his eyes, or Donatella’s heart felt rendition of “Same Love”, lighters and cell phones glowing in the air.
I could go on and on raving about the talent that showed up for July’s installment of HHK. Everyone who took the mic seemed to be having so much fun. I rarely saw any hint of nervousness, an impressive feat on its own. And, most of all, the crowd was enthusiastically behind everyone who went up, dancing, throwing their hands up, and proving the “L” for “When I say MT you say…?”
Which brings me to this. With all the melodramas this city has had to endure over the last year and a half, HHK provided people with the chance to experience this city and its people at its finest; diverse, inclusive and, most of all, entertaining.
Providing the cherry on top were MC Dshade keeping the flow going with his amusing banter between performances, and the aforementioned DJ named Midas who, if you were paying attention, was scratching up a firestorm just before the show began. Arriving early was made worthwhile by the worthy tracks flowing from the speakers. Music to my ears…