A Weekend Full of Hip-Hop

  • photo by Michael Dorado.

It was a great weekend in Montreal with Elementakiza and Hip Hop You Don’t Stop coming together to celebrate hip-hop music.

“I think hip-hop brings what’s best out of everyone, and that’s what people can recognize,” said Gabriel, chief editor of Elementality. It was easy to see, because all eyes were on the local b-girls, b-boys, poets, rappers and graffiti artists that kept bopping their heads, clapping their hands and two-stepping throughout Friday and Saturday.

Elementality’s goal as a Montreal hip-hop news provider is to raise awareness on the diversity of this genre and the different initiatives that encourage positivity within the culture. It was therefore only common sense to work with grassroots community organization Prevention Côte-Des-Neiges Notre-Dame-De-Grâce (CDN-NDG).

“Prevention CDN-NDG has been active in the community for over 25 years; and they have great expertise organizing Hip Hop You Don’t Stop, so we thought it was illogical not to work together,” Gabriel said. On Friday, Prevention CDN-NDG presented Girlz N’ Hip Hop, a night devoted to honouring women in the movement and dissociating rap music from the stereotypes sometimes depicted by mainstream media.

It was ladies’ night, with special guests such as Strange Froots, Malika Trirolien and IamBlackgirl from Nomadic Massive performing all night long. They spit knowledge on gender issues within R&B, rap and spoken word. Girlz N’ Hip Hop was a reminder about just how powerful a woman’s voice and persona can be.

“There is still a lot of work to be done before hip-hop reasserts itself as a truly universal culture,” said Gabriel. “The objective is to bridge the gap within every community until everyone’s voice has been heard.”

According to Mutatayi ‘Tshizimba’ Fuamba, an artist at NoBadSoundStudio, “The culture was created as a means to fight oppression. It is the music that helps express the harsh realities all while being free of censorship.”

On Saturday, Elementakiza took over NDG park and lent it a 70s block party makeover. “Our event is community-centered and we want participants to see all of the elements of hip hop culture interact together,” said Gabriel.

It was a sight to behold with intense breakdance battles, graffiti murals, barber shop haircuts, live performances and the delectable tacos. It was a conglomerate of positivity where young local artists could share their talent.

“Hip hop influences the youth because it is a vibrant culture. It lets us boost our confidence, share our feelings and let people know that we’re alive and that we’re making noise,” said Tshizimba.

With every rhyme, with every six-step and with every empty spray can, the passion was overwhelming and kept the energy alive. “There’s a lot of youth who participate at this event, and we want them to carry the torch and remember that it’s all about having fun,” said Gabriel.

All in all, Elementakiza was a huge success and Hip Hop You Don’t Stop’s 9th edition came to a close exemplifying how much Montreal’s scene has grown and diversified. Even though people tend to overlook Montreal when thinking of hip hop cities.

“We’re here and we’re making ourselves heard,” said Tshizimba.

This weekend showed that urban arts can connect people from all facets of life, and revealed the brighter side of a culture we don’t always get the chance to see.

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