Starting March 15, Montreal will be hosting Hip Hop Week Montreal, seven days of events showcasing some of Montreal’s best local talent, as well as featuring a couple of more well-known international names. All events are open to the public, and proceeds will go to Nobad Sound Studio (Maison des Jeunes), a local youth organization that helps youth develop their musical talents in studio.
Graduating McGill students Nusra Khan, Dina El Baradie, Sta Kuzviwanza, and Katia Fox put this event together after discovering the wealth of talent that the Montreal hip hop scene has to offer. Other schools such as Concordia apparently offer courses and activities for “hip hop heads”. This awareness of hip hop’s growing influence and importance is something that these four friends felt was missing from their school.
Aside from shows featuring acts from the vibrant local scene, the week’s events will include discussions on hip hop and its intersection with feminism, linguistics, race, activism, and more. According to Nusra Khan, there is a disconnect between hip hop’s recent rise in popularity and popular knowledge about its history and the culture that goes along with the it. “Hip hop has had so much impact historically,” she says, “Not only within the black community in the United States but also recently in terms of the Arab Spring, for example.” The team felt it was important to understand the ways in which hip hop has become a form of activism; it is often a way for those trying to make a change to enable their voices to be heard.
There are a couple of events in particular that the organizers think are not to be missed, including talks by some impressive guests such as rapper Jean Grae, described by Khan as representing “the scope of possibility for women in rap.”
The lectures in general, Khan says, are sure to be an exciting part of the week. They will all be very interactive, with an app enabling all attendees to ask questions directly to the lecturers.
Invited guests also include Rakim Allah, who will discuss the role of hip hop in race/class politics in America on Saturday, and critically acclaimed producer and big name Freddie Joachim, who will be hosting a beat-making workshop on Wednesday.
The important thing to remember about this week is that you don’t necessarily need to be a hardcore fan to partake in and enjoy the numerous events put together by the organizers. Khan emphasizes the fact that many of these events are meant to bridge a gap, and be accessible to anyone even just vaguely aware of hip hop and its role in popular culture, or to Montrealers simply looking to appreciate local talent and art.
The schedule for the week can be found on their website, and on their facebook page.
Hip Hop Week runs from March 15 to March 21.