Stacee Brizzle has been a prolific part of Toronto’s Hip-Hop scene for years. If you’re a Hip-Hop fan and you go to a lot of concerts in the city, chances are you’ve seen her host a few shows, keeping fans entertained between performers. When she’s not hosting for other artists, she also holds the title of radio/media personality, and is also an emcee in her own right, being the first ever female champion of King Of The Dot. Having her hand on the pulse of the local scene, it’s no surprise she can put together a dope lineup of artists for her own events.
When Stacee organizes and puts her name on an event, it’s usually for a meaningful cause. For example, her past Kitty Palace showcases have given a platform for local female artists to have the spotlight in a male-dominated industry. This time around, Stacee put on a charity event that would benefit the youth in Toronto’s community. All proceeds from this show would go towards Covenant House, which provides care for at-risk youth, and party-goers could pay half the cover charge if they donated work clothes that could be used for job interviews. While rocking a Hip-Hop party comes second nature to her, Stacee’s only goal for the night would be to help the underprivileged.
The biggest name on this show’s poster was Juno award-winner Adam Bomb, but there was no real “headliner” to anticipate, as no one artist had a bigger spotlight than another. It felt more like a community of local artists sharing their songs with each other, with enough performers to keep the stage rocking until 4am. All styles and flavours of Hip-Hop would be represented, ranging from soulful RnB to trap, to boom-bap to hardcore.
As with many Hip-Hop shows, most of the crowd was late showing up, and no more than a couple dozen people where inside Nocturne Nightclub to catch the early performers. Always pushing to give women their time in the spotlight, Stacee started off the show by bringing out 19-year-old singer Advokat, who showcased her vocal range with a couple original RnB songs, and really grabbed the crowd’s attention with her acoustic covers of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’.”
Next was Wade Jackson, who spit some rapid-fire raps over trap beats. Even while battling asthma, he still brought a ton of energy to the stage, and used his vocal recordings as a crutch when he needed to catch a breath. Things would shift back to RnB, as Jade Siress got on stage to sing. She had technical issues preventing her instrumentals from being played, but still managed to pull off a dope accapella performance, showcasing her smooth vocals.
The soulfulness was abruptly removed from the building, as the next couple artists brought that rugged, hardcore vibe to the stage. Stacee brought up her Reel Wolf comrades Resin & Swann, who we had last seen open for Necro & Madchild last fall. The Reel Wolf emcees repped their brand with vicious battle raps over hardcore beats, and then Stacee brought out a duo we were just seeing perform for the first time, Devils Puppet. They rocked a very hardcore set, reminding me of artists like Ill Bill and Jedi Mind Tricks with the way they attacked the mic.
After that quick trip to the hardcore, Stacee brought out singer Xentury as her first surprise guest of the evening. Xentury seemed to be all about working with her fellow ladies to keep the show rolling smoothly, as she had been telling jokes to the crowd earlier when Jade Siress was having technical issues, and got singer Coco Leah to do a quick accapella verse as she ran to fix her own technical issues. Her style of RnB served as a good palate cleanser between the previous hardcore acts and the upcoming more diverse styles of rapping.
Next up would be some familiar artists from the Connect The Dot event we started the year with. Kidd Danielz rocked a few songs on stage, including the trap-flavoured “Wait A Minute Remix,” and Dre Specz also did a short set that included an accapella freestyle. After them would be Adam Bomb, who had another commitment to another show that night and only had time to rock two songs. He got up, slayed his verses, and kept it moving. With the show going until 4am and it not even being 1 o’clock yet, there was still plenty of music to be performed. Following up an award-winning artist like Adam Bomb would be tough for many, but Stacee’s next surprise guests were up to the task.
Probably the highlight of the night, Stacee’s next surprise was reuniting all four members of Team OBM on stage. The group had a lot to celebrate, as they recently won a talent showcase that would be sending them to perform a future show in New York, and later in the night would win a raffle for those who purchased a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka in support of the charity. Their biggest victory though was their performance, which had the energy in the club cranked all the way up.
The four emcees had great synergy sharing the stage, and they made themselves stand out by jumping into the crowd while rapping, and even bringing all their fans on stage with them to dance. They rocked a solid set and closed out with a throwback they hadn’t performed in a while, “Can’t Stop The Movement,” which cleverly has them freeze during the chorus.
Following Team OBM was another Connect The Dot alumni, Dustin Wareham. He won the crowd over by tossing out some free weed to go along with his 3-song set, which included the familiar single “Bukka Bukka,” and a new, unreleased song we got to hear for the first time. Next was a couple artists I was unfamiliar with, The Fue and Cam-O. The Fue had a solid set with some rapid-fire raps, while Sarnia/Hamilton’s own Cam-O choked mid-verse. He got it together for the chorus though, and the Toronto crowd still showed him love for his first show in the city.
The show kept rolling as Klee Magor and Big Stretch took the stage. The duo was just coming off their tour with Jeru The Damaja, and performed some of the same songs from when we saw them last month. They got the crowd chanting the hook with them to “Hardcore Rap,” and also spit some freestyle verses over the beat from Jadakiss’ “We Gonna Make It.”
With a ton of rapping between the last few performers, it was time we got another taste of some RnB, as Coco Leah finally got to take the stage for her own set. She showed some awesome vocal range, adding more layers over her pre-recorded vocals, and got the ladies in the crowd slow dancing.
Now well past 2am, the crowd had been diminishing, but those who stayed were in for a treat, as they got free posters and a rare performance from Stacee Brizzle herself. Having not even planned on performing, she and Bonnie winged it through some unreleased songs they had been working on. Stacee eventually took it back to her battle rap roots, as DJ Short Cut played a medley of beats for her and Bonnie to battle over, and the ladies had themselves a compliment battle (where instead of dissing your opponent in your rap, you give them compliments).
More artists continued to rock the stage after Stacee’s rap battle, but I decided to head home before fatigue kicked in. The crowd that had once been dozens of people was now just a handful, but they kept jamming until 4am. Overall, this was a great event showcasing Toronto’s diversity amongst its Hip-Hop artists. It ranged from seasoned veterans to newcomers, from RnB singers to hardcore battle raps, and everyone got to shine equally. Having been one of many youths who used to rely on Covenant House’s services, Stacee succeeded in using her platform to give back to them with this fundraiser, and beautifully brought the Hip-Hop community together to assist.
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