A little over a year ago, Nitty Scott, MC was on tour promoting her then-new album, The Art Of Chill. It was supposed to be her first time in Canada, as she had one show in Toronto (at Tattoo) scheduled to go along with the rest of her U.S. tour. Unfortunately, she was turned away when she tried to cross the border, and many fans found out at the club’s doors that the show had been cancelled. Now it seems that whatever issues preventing her from entering Canada have been solved, and she can finally perform in Toronto and other Canadian cities.
While her initial booking last year was simply to promote her debut album, this specific show would be for a special cause: to raise funds for Can I Live Charity, which helps with the medical costs of a young stage-4 bone marrow cancer patient, who was told by doctors that he had less than a year to live when he was 19, and today is alive at age 22. The fact that he’s alive today defies everything his doctors have ever learnt, and makes him a very special case in the fight against cancer. Having put on ten previous Hip-Hop shows in the city, Can I Live has not only helped the young patient raise funds for his medical costs (due to his age, he requires specific medication ordered from Europe to treat his pain), but they have also created a platform for local Toronto MCs to showcase their skills.
This type of cause seems right up Nitty Scott’s alley, as her music has always stood for overcoming personal obstacles and spreading positive vibes. While this would be Nitty’s first time performing in Toronto, it would also be Can I Live’s first time booking an international artist for one of their fundraiser shows, and my personal first time at this particular venue, Lee’s Palace. Lee’s Palace has two floors, and on this night they had some live rock music playing on the ground floor, and the Can I Live Hip-Hop show upstairs in the “Dance Cave.” I got to the venue a couple hours after doors had opened, and the show was only getting started when I arrived.
Just as I arrived, the host of Can I Live was introducing the first opening act, Just John. The venue had many lounge chairs people were hanging in, a large bar area, and even a foosball table, but everyone made their way to the dance floor up front once Just John got on stage. He had some solid tracks, sometimes engaging the crowd by rapping from atop one of the speakers.
The duo Hydeff and Tray $tarks came out next. They also had some dope tracks, and towards the end of their set they got some of their crew from the audience to join them on stage, getting everyone turned up. Next up was Xolisa, another Toronto MC. She had to run up to the soundman to get her mic working, but the good vibes continued once her set started. One of her songs was a remix of Jill Scott’s “A Long Walk,” called “A Longer Walk,” where she literally walked amongst the crowd as she rapped. She also got a fan in the crowd to join her on stage and beatbox as she performed another song, making a dope freestyle collaboration. While I’ve never seen any of these Toronto artists perform at any shows I’ve been to before, they all proved to be great performers with excellent techniques to get the crowd involved and set the mood for the night.
The crowd may have been small, but everyone was hyped to see Nitty Scott’s first performance in Canada. She came out wearing a Can I Live shirt (which are also being sold to raise funds for the charity) and right away showcased her credibility to the new fans in the crowd with her Kendrick Lamar collaboration, “Flower Child.” She rapped all of her verses as well as K-Dot’s, and then moved into the Art of Chill single “Feng Shui.” Nitty then performed a freestyle track, getting the crowd to chant “okay, player” in the chorus before speaking on the importance of Can I Live Charity putting on this show.
She then took off the Can I Live shirt, revealing another one with the word “bitch” labeled all over (matching her hat), and proceeded to do another freestyle over Drake’s “Trophies” track, obviously appealing to “The 6ix.” The energy stayed high as Nitty did some more familiar freestyle tracks, moving on to her “Hands On The Wheel” freestyle and her “Bath Salt” track, nailing the fast flow without a hypeman. She then did one of my favourite songs that actually made it onto one of her albums, “H.O.T.,” which appears on her Boombox Diaries Vol. 1 EP.
“H.O.T.” got the crowd really turned up with the EDM flavour at the end of it. Similar to what Xolisa did on stage earlier, Nitty then let her DJ take a break and got the entire crowd to clap a beat for her to rap over. She again showcased her dope freestyle skills before getting into a few songs off of The Art Of Chill. She did “Pyrexxx Pink,” followed by “Apex,” where she mentioned we’d have to buy the album if we wanted to hear Ab-Soul’s guest verse. She then did a couple of my favourite, high-energy tracks off the album, “Knowbody Knows” and “UFO (Unfiltered Offering).” Nitty wrapped up her set with her latest music video freestyle, a remix of Omarion’s “Post To Be.”
Again, despite the crowd being small, they had high energy and were able to chant loud enough to bring Nitty Scott back out for an encore. She spit an accapella freestyle verse, which I think I recognized from “Is This Thing On?” (correct me if I’m wrong). Can I Live’s host Moe then gave his thanks to the crowd to end the show, and Nitty stuck around to give her fans free hugs (as she promised earlier in her set).
Overall, this was a really fun show, and it felt good helping out a noble cause. Lee’s Palace’s Dance Cave proved to be a great venue for small Hip-Hop shows like this, and I wouldn’t even mind lounging here sometime with rum and foosball. Nitty Scott’s performance was a solid introduction to the Canadian fans, and hopefully this is just the first of many trips into our country for her. Hopefully all the fans know all of her songs next time she performs here; I think we could have brought a bit more energy.
There are so many dope tracks I would have liked to see Nitty perform, like “Concrete Roses,” “No Standing Here,” and “Auntie Maria’s Crib,” but the tracks off her official debut album effectively showed her song-writing skills, while her various freestyles showcased her raw talent. She’s also a class act in person, as she took the time to meet all of her fans in the building. Can I Live Charity put on another successful show, and they’ll look to keep growing in the future. For more information on the Can I Live Charity and their Hip-Hop events in Toronto, check out Can-I-Live.com.
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