Hip-hop music has been called “the poetry of the streets” and is perhaps the most influential musical genre of the past 30 years. It has spread all across the globe and has diversified into countless forms and styles.
Sudbury may not be the first place you’d think of as a hotbed of hip-hop culture, however the creation of the music has been ongoing in the city for at least 30 years.
Two local hip-hop artists are launching a series of monthly hip-hop nights, with the goal of continuing to develop a burgeoning local scene with its own unique flavour.
Mike O’Brien of the Kill the Autocrat project and Max “Silvertongue” Merrifield have been making their own unique brands of hip-hop music in the city for many years.
“Although our styles are quite different, I think Mike and I share two important things in our music: the understanding that music can encourage critical thought and social change, and the ultimate refusal to ever compromise an artistic vision,” said Merrifield.
“We wanted a regular space for hip-hop artists to explore their craft in a quality music venue, and that’s why we’ve launched these nights.”
As a reference to both the musical underground and the literal underground, the series has been titled “Cage Call.” The term references hard rock mining, a staple of Sudbury’s history.
The first event is scheduled to take place June 19 at The Townehouse Tavern on Elgin Street, and will feature Toronto hip-hop veteran Adhimu "Mindbender" Stewart.
“Mindbender is known as many things, including the ambassador of Toronto hip-hop and one of Canada’s true creative hip-hop individuals,” said O’Brien.
“There is no hip-hop show like a Mindbender show. It is one of a kind, and we are super excited to welcome him to Sudbury to kick off these monthly events.”
Organizers are excited to offer fresh alternatives to mainstream hip-hop, which they say too often centres around materialism and doesn’t take enough artistic risks.
The June 19 event has been titled “Mindbender’s Interstellar Hip Hop Party” and has been given a spacey theme, in character with the headliner’s musical persona.
The event will also feature a number of local artists, including the duo Streetwise and Advercity, as well as local DJs, DJ Willis and DJ Noj Garcia. Tickets are $10 at the door and music will begin at 10 p.m. sharp.