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:
Song: Bombs over Baghdad
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)
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
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.
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!