For the first time ever, I went to Hip Hop karaoke Montreal’s monthly show at le Belmont last Thursday night. Folks, this is not your typical karaoke with friends, where you “sing” at the top of your lungs and everyone comes out semi-deaf by the end of the night. Performers at HHK come here to DELIVER; karaoke is taken to the next level, and everyone who stepped up on that stage owned it. Upbeat and charismatic Dshade worked the crowd magnificently, keeping breaks between performances interesting, maintaining and enhancing the energy brought by all the individuals who attended this special night. Dshade and co. also meant serious business, enforcing the rules when needed, maintaining the integrity of the show.
Now, I’m not going to pretend like I am some rap expert. Hear me out: I grew up listening to Britney Spears, the Spice Girls and the Beatles (a somewhat odd combination). However, over the years, I have grown to appreciate rap, especially meaningful and soulful rappers like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. So, unsurprisingly, I was super excited when rapper Donatella asked the crowd to say “All My People Say!” when she goes “Na Na Naaa Na Na Na Na Naaaaa!”, quoting the lyrics from “Can’t Hold Us”. She was certainly one of the performers who got the crowd jumping and dancing. Donatella, along with fellow performers Natedawg and Scoops, were a few of the many artists that brought energy to a crowd that was already buzzing with life. Songs like “Power Trip” by J Cole, Biz Markie’s timeless “Just a Friend”, and the always welcome “I’m on a Boat” by the Lonely Island were but a few of the songs that were clear hits in this packed venue. I thought it was so refreshing to see normal, regular human beings giving their all on stage, establishing a good rapport between the audience and performer.
Each artist, male or female, jock or nerd, added their own unique personality to their performances, which is why HHK MTL is so popular and reaches out to so many people. Anyone can come on that stage and rap their hearts out, and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, because HHK Montreal erases any differences between individuals and brings them together through their one common passion: rap. If there is one thing I can take away from this experience, it’s that you can live out your wildest fantasies no matter what. Everyone wants to be in the limelight and have a taste of fame. And I can tell you, with the reception that each artist received, the treatment was nothing short of star quality.