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.