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Thursday, 15 August 2013 09:00

Hip hop artists host benefit concert in Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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People were enjoying a different kind of beat at the Lyric Theatre on Aug. 10 during the Noncents hip hop concert.

The event showcased Swift Current’s hip hop talent and raised about $1,300 for three charities.
Jacob Heinrichs was one of the event organizers and performers. He felt the concert will help to raise the profile of hip hop music in the community.
“I hope it not only raised awareness about hip hop in the community but it actually gave it somewhat of a positive name,” he said. “I don’t know if that happened or not, but it would be nice if it did.”
While individual rappers have performed in the city before, this was the first time that eight local hip hop artists shared the stage during a concert.
The show started on an unexpected note when rap artist Jelly (Jesse Phillips) made a feeble attempt to play a country song on a home-made guitar, but the other performers quickly intervened and Heinrichs smashed the guitar.
Four of the artists – Kairos (Kaleb Adam), Jelly, Kidd Smash (Leah Teulon) and Y-No (Heinrichs) – participated in a no-holds-barred rap battle.
“A battle rap is when you have two opponents going against each other, rapping and trying to insult each other the best they can,” Heinrichs explained.
The other performers during the Noncents concert were Chunion (Paul Cochrane), Lucid Trip (Chandler Dueck), Ezekiel (Ezekiel McMurtry) and Jon Unger.
According to Heinrichs the idea started when he and Adam were talking about doing a concert, and it then simply evolved.
“I initially wanted it for charity and he also liked that idea,” Heinrichs said. “Everyone else has been fine with that idea.”
The money will be donated to three charities based on the preferences indicated by concert patrons – the Canadian Mental Health Association, Sheldon Kennedy’s child advocacy and the Not For Sale campaign to end human trafficking and slavery.
Kidd Smash (Leah Teulon) has been doing hip hop for about five years. She discovered the music after she got her first iPod, when she listened to her brother’s hip hop collection.
“I just fell in love with the genre and I couldn’t get enough of it,” she said.
She was the audience favourite during the rap battle and received the loudest applause during the final round against Kairos.
“Everybody gets nervous before a show but I’ve done quite a few shows before,” she mentioned. “Once I get on stage I just get hyped.”
She started writing her own lyrics when she was 14 and performed her first show two years ago in Swift Current at the age of 17.
Since then she has appeared at various locations, including gravel pit parties, open mic nights and in bars. Last year she performed at a festival in Cranbrook, B.C.
“I like to do every kind of style,” she said. “I can do emotional songs, I like to write about current issues in the world.”
She is working on her first 12-track album and considers lyrics to be the most important aspect of hip hop.
“I feel that part’s been overlooked in recent years,” she said. “People listen to the beat and they say it’s a good song because of the beat, but it should be a good song because of the lyrical content and the beat should be complementary to that.”
She described the hip hop scene in Swift Current as still being “underground” but felt events such as the Noncents concert can help to change that.
“I really hope that more people get involved with our local artists and just rap to our music,” she said.

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