NXNE 2014 Preview: Hip Hop | culture, NoIndex | Torontoist



NXNE 2014 Preview: Hip Hop

While there are quite a few promising hip-hop artists from both near and far who’ll be looking to make a name for themselves and win some new fans at this year’s NXNE, it’s hard to ignore the impressive array of established marquee talent prominently featured in the lineup. What makes the opportunity to check out some of rap’s biggest stars while they’re in town especially appealing is that, in a piece of inspired programming, many of them will be appearing outdoors at Yonge-Dundas Square. Here’s just a taste of what the festival has to offer in the hip-hop department.

Danny Brown

When: Thursday, June 19, 7:40 p.m.
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)

When: Friday, June 20, 12 a.m.
Where: Mod Club Theatre (772 College Street)

In a genre full of eccentrics, Detroit’s Danny Brown still manages to stand out as a wild original. He raised vulgarity to hilarious new heights on his 2011 sophomore effort XXX, before getting (slightly) more serious on last year’s sterling follow-up, Old. Don’t let his bleary-eyed preoccupation with partying on songs like “Smokin and Drinkin” or his belligerent delivery fool you, though: he takes his craft seriously.

A$AP Ferg

When: Friday, June 20, 12 a.m.
Where: Tattoo (567 Queen Street West)

Though A$AP Rocky remains the highest-profile figure in Harlem collective A$AP Mob, it’s possible that A$AP Ferg is the member with the most potential right now. Last year’s debut, Trap Lord, solidly showcased his dynamic skills, even if it felt a bit like the appetizer for an upcoming main course. He has a way of shifting on-mic personas to suit the mood of a song, which results in a captivating blend of all the different aspects of his psyche.

Run the Jewels

When: Saturday, June 21, 1 a.m.
Where: Adelaide Hall (250 Adelaide Street West)

When: Sunday, June 22, 8 p.m.
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)

While collaboration is not only common in hip hop but also vital to its ethos, there’s something truly special about the pairing of El-P and Killer Mike in Run the Jewels. Dazzling audiences with their eponymous debut last year, they’ve created such a fruitful marriage of styles that the duo is already readying a second album’s worth of material for release later this year. Their shows at NXNE will provide a much-anticipated preview of some of the songs they’ve been labouring over recently.

Flex the Antihero

When: Friday, June 20, 10 p.m.
Where: Studio Bar (824 Dundas Street West)

When: Sunday, June 22, 2 p.m.
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)

One half of the Durham Region duo the Antiheroes, Flex the Antihero struck out on his own recently with his debut solo album Salem, and the results were both pleasantly surprising and consistently rewarding. With a dexterous flow that demands repeated listening to be fully appreciated, Flex will be enjoying his moment in the spotlight at this year’s NXNE with a couple of performances, including an early slot on June 22 alongside rap’s luminaries at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Juicy J

When: Sunday, June 22, 9 p.m.
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)

The all-day event on June 22 at Yonge-Dundas Square should prove a glorious celebration of hip hop, featuring legends of the game and with Juicy J as the headliner. Responsible for Hustle & Flow‘s Oscar-winning song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” as a member of the Three 6 Mafia, the Memphis MC and producer has gone on to work with pretty much everyone in the rap world. You need to look only as far as the title of the album he released last year, Stay Trippy, to know what kind of drug-fuelled revelries he brings to life in his music.

  POP and ROCK