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Karaoke on the west coast has been given a facelift thanks to Chad Iverson and Paul Gibson-Tigh, founders of Hip-Hop…

By Jessica Michielin , in A Scribe Out West , on March 17, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Karaoke on the west coast has been given a facelift thanks to Chad Iverson and Paul Gibson-Tigh, founders of Hip-Hop Karaoke Vancouver.

The event runs monthly at Fortune Sound Club in Chinatown. The show on March 15 was the fourth since arriving in Terminal City in December of last year.

I say “show” because that’s really what Hip-Hop Karaoke, or HHK, resembles. Each performer is accompanied on stage by DJ Seko of the local DJ collective The Freshest, as well as the night’s host, DJ Flipout.¬†And unlike¬†traditional karaoke, there is no teleprompter from which to read lyrics.

One more thing: all songs MUST be hip-hop.

You listen to rap music?

The result is an energetic and entertaining showcase of your favourite hip-hop songs performed by some rather unlikely rappers. Here are a few from this week:


Sam Masih

Song: Bombs over Baghdad

Artist: Outkast

The flow of Outkast’s 2000 jam Bombs over Baghdad is incredibly quick, making it a challenging song to sing. Despite this, Masih mastered it in one week. His performance was one of the night’s best.

Performers: Kelsey Wood (L) & Amber Harder (R)

Song: Definition

Artists: Mos Def & Talib Kweli

Together Mos Def and Talib Kweli make Black Star, a hip-hop group that released one album back in 1998. Recently there have been rumblings that another is in the works. Harder and Wood covered the rap duo’s best-known song, Definition.

Performer: Thor Helgason

Song: I’m Not A Player

Artist: Big Pun

Helgason’s rendition of Big Pun’s classic is an apt example of what makes HHK so entertaining. There is nothing about him that resembles Big Pun, but Helgason went on stage and did his thing – and he did it well!

Growth: it’s a good thing

HHK originated in New York City, spawning similar nights in London, New Jersey and Toronto. The idea to bring it to Vancouver was hatched by Iverson and Gibson-Tigh last summer.

Toronto native Gibson-Tigh says everyone in the hip-hop scene knows about HHK.

“It’s impossible not to hear about it. It’s so huge in Toronto,” said Gibson-Tigh.

Since the first night in December the event has garnered a lot of attention, due in part to its promotion through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

The promoters say they are excited about the growth.

“Everyone is entertained by the performers and we bring in 400 people on a Monday night. To me, that sounds like success,” said Iverson.

My recommendation? Ch-ch-check it out!