Montreal show hosts emerging and established artists in the city’s hip hop scene
With a multitude of local artists sprouting up left and right seemingly every week, it’s as though creativity and inspiration run through the veins of every person trying to make a name for themselves in Montreal.
On Sept. 29, Théâtre Fairmount was the space for the city’s latest showcase of talent and potential, which displayed some already-established success stories. Local clothing brand and creative movement, Affiliate, was able to merge two worlds by including both anglophone and francophone artists in one show.
Samuel Shiffman and Lyall Johnson, the 17-year-old masterminds behind Affiliate, are using the creative drive around them to ignite a flame under Montreal’s already brewing hip hop movement.
Not much tops an amazing live performance where talented artists leave everything they have on stage in front of a packed crowd.
The show began with Young Rose, who had an ultra-short set of about five minutes, though clearly demonstrating his melodic capabilities and smooth vocals. After his performance came Lord Kitamba, R&B crooner and charming showman. From the second he set foot on stage, his relaxed, charismatic energy let off an air of poise and authenticity. His Bruno Mars-esque dance moves were definitely one of the highlights of the night.
Following Kitamba came Montrealways to cap off the R&B section of the show.
With a musical vibe uncannily similar to that of R&B singer Jhené AIko, the up-and-coming Montreal singer’s powerful yet feathery vocals added her name to Montreal’s list of rising stars.
The Fairmount’s stage is simple—less than five feet off the ground and set against the back wall of the 500-person capacity room. The tight-knit layout of the venue made for an intense, personal environment, which amplified each artist’s unique performance.
Immediately following Montrealways came the only group of the night—hip hop/trap collective The Grey Era (TGE). Consisting of members TGETruth, TGEMarx, Kade, TGERambo, and in-house producer Thirty, the group fed off each other’s energy for the duration of their set—the longest of the night. With all five members on stage at all times, the crowd fed off of their dynamic stage presence, moving along to each beat that came on.
“I think I can say that we’ve already kind of built a name for ourselves in the city as artists,” said TGETruth.
From splashing water to exchanging dance moves with the crowd, TGE’s performance created an infectious atmosphere of high intensity and catchy tracks—all the key components of a successful hip hop group today.
TGE, who clearly have their sights set on fame and fortune, told The Concordian that the word “Grey” in their name stands for “Getting Richer Every Year.” With new music expected to be released in the coming months, this certainly won’t be the last we’ll be hearing about the collective.
“TGE is the wave,” TGEMarx said.
Following TGE’s lively performance, the venue filled to the brim. With 450 people present, the venue was 50 short of its legal capacity, making for an unavoidably tight, sweaty crowd.
The demographic at the collaborative event was mixed, as it was open to all ages. Everyone from highschool girls to middle-aged parents could be found scattered throughout the venue.
After TGE’s performance, the only francophone rapper in the show’s lineup, Salimo, took the stage. The Montreal rapper of Algerian descent delivered a unique, captivating set. Effortlessly switching between delivering authentic, autobiographical bars and belting flowing hooks, Salimo had the crowd dancing and bopping their heads to the beat.
This past summer, the 18-year-old rapper’s talents were put on display when he was invited to perform at the Les Francofolies de Montreal, an annual music festival. His fanbase was clearly present at the Affiliate show, as the crowd cheered with the start of his first song.
After Salimo’s performance came the main event of the night—a joint set between Tommy Kruise and Nate Husser. It ended the night with a bang from two of Montreal’s most notable hip hop artists.
Kruise DJed for Husser, whose entourage joined him on stage. Though they didn’t have a mic, their energy was enough to rub off on frontman Husser, who lost most of his wardrobe as his set progressed. He seemed to gain more momentum with every article of clothing that came off.
Husser performed some of his most popular, lively tracks, including “How to Get Away With” and “High for This.” Kruise mixed and chimed in every so often, pumping up the crowd and adding his personal touch from the DJ table at the back of the stage.
A few minutes into Kruise and Husser’s set, TGE made their way onto the stage, forming a mega-squad with everyone dancing together and hyping each other up. No introductions were needed, as TGERambo is Husser’s younger brother. Musical talent must run in the family.
In the end, there were no less than 12 people on stage, from Kruise and Husser, to the photographers, to TGE—both the crowd and the stage turned into a party.
When asked about his feelings going into the show, Husser kept it short and sweet.
“I don’t go into shows with expectations. I just do,” Husser said. “But this show was lit.”
The show ended with a DJ set by Kruise, who played music exclusively from Montreal artists.
“A couple of years ago, it would have been hard for me to play nothing but Montreal music for an hour and a half and fully enjoy myself,” Kruise said. “Montreal is booming with talent right now and I don’t think we’ve ever felt it like this.”
As for the two young entrepreneurs who spearheaded the show, they believe this is only the beginning of a deep, long journey into the world of music performing and creative connection
“We want to produce more shows and discover new artists that we can help and support,” said Shiffman. “Who knows, maybe we can even create our own festival. There’s more to come from us for sure.”