photo by Ayanna Durant
When scoping out the venue one might ask, “Who are all these people?”. I know that was the question I asked myself looking at all of the fresh faces. At $65+ a pop there was barely space to move once it was imminent the long awaited duo would hit the stage. I was impressed. Despite how saturated the genre is these days, it’s nice to know that there is a new generation doing their homework and appreciating Hip Hop at it’s best.
Prior to the main event, prominent Montreal Hip Hop culture figureheads were given lifetime achievement awards, presented by City Styles, awardees included Paul Frappier a.k.a Bad News Brown, promoter Gary T and our very own, Under Pressure co-founder, Sterling Downey. Also, because of recent and unfortunate events Matt ‘Dutch’ Garner was also honoured.
DJ Spintelect, centre stage, set the tone with some classic golden era tracks then about four mixes in, Blackstar emerged flanking both sides of the DJ booth, slowly making their way toward the crowd. Once Mos Def and Talib Kweli made it to the spotlight with their vintage prep style, their custom painted red and white Super 55 Shure mics and ear to ear smiles it was clear, this was going to be good.
Opening with Determination and then hitting the crowd with one classic track after another, they made it easy for the crowd to keep their energy high and their eyes peeled on both Mos Def’s moves and Talib’s direction. Their set continued to unfold with impeccable timing and ease, despite Blackstar’s hiatus one might not expect such synergy but, these boys will always have it. This is Blackstar’s first ever performance in Montreal thanks to promoter Rickey D, perhaps they wanted to make a great impression. Re:Definition and Astronomy (8th Light) were obviously well received as well as their yet to be release Fix Up.
A heartfelt performance of Respiration was dedicated to Montreal’s Matt ‘Dutch’ Garner and Paul Frappier a.k.a. Bad News Brown. For the ladies, Brown Skin Lady, was a track all the ladies were waiting for. Chanting and stomping impelled an encore that included Get By and Umi Says.
You walked away that night feeling good. Still feeling the base in your ribcage and days later, mouthing the lyrics and smiling to yourself. Are we hoping they will come back to Montreal?
Yes. Yes we do.
video by Ayanna Durant
A little taste of how much fun Blackstar had with their Montreal fans.