NXNE 2012: How to Go Hip-Hop
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NXNE 2012: How to Go Hip-Hop

Your best bets for hip-hop at this year's festival.

NXNE is an embarrassment of musical riches, but it can be hard to find the best acts. Even so, don’t panic. We have put together a comprehensive guide to the festival.

Kid Sister at NXNE 2010. Photo by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pamlau/5672448107/"}Pam Lau{/a}, from the {a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/"}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

For better or worse, NXNE is still considered to be a slightly indie-rock-centric festival, but the last few years have seen a steady upswing in both the number and the quality of hip-hop acts present. Once you’ve had your fill of dance-rock shows and two-man art-punk outfits, here’s where you can go to find out what’s really good.

What to Bring: Patience. Even at the tightly timed NXNE, these shows are probably going to run on hip-hop standard time, so don’t bug out when the sets start a little late. Also, bring some Century Sams, which should help you with the former.

Where to Go: Obviously, you’re going to want to catch Wu-Tang legends Ghostface Killah and Raekwon at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 17 (9 p.m.). These guys are basically rap superheroes, and even if you’re not a huge hip-hop head, you’d be stupid to miss them. That said, you’ll probably want to show up early, so you can catch critically lauded but commercially underappreciated southern rap star Killer Mike (8 p.m.) and food-obsessed chef-turned-MC Action Bronson (7 p.m.). (It’s also worth noting that both Mike and Bronson also have shows the night before, at 1 a.m. at Wrongbar and midnight at The Drake Underground respectively.)

If you’re looking to check out some local talent, make sure to peep Notes to Self and Rich Kidd, both of whom will be playing the Rivoli on June 13 (10:50 p.m. and 2:35 a.m.). You’ll also want to check out Canada’s number one—and possibly only—grime MC Tre Mission, who will add some Canadian content to the June 17 Yonge-Dundas festivities (6 p.m.).

If you’re hunting for the next big thing, make sure to see Virginia Beach alt-rapper Cello Kid at The Crawford (June 15, 11 p.m.) and weirdly angry Brooklyn-based T.Shirt at The Rivoli (June 13, 1:05 p.m.)

Dos and Don’ts: Do be ready to get active. This isn’t an indie rock show, and movement is encouraged. Don’t tell your I-know-someone-who-knows-Drake story. It’s Toronto, everybody has one and nobody cares.

See also: