It may sound strange but some of Montreal’s most promising hip-hop artists aren’t coming from the inner city; in fact many are Concordia students from Montreal’s West Island.
To promote the West Island’s burgeoning hip-hop scene to a wider audience, Carlo Hidalgo (a.k.a. C. Brown) is set to release a compilation album this Saturday entitled The Best of the West, which includes contributions from the community’s most talented performers.
The album is being launched at a release party that will host the West Island’s finest MCs, including three artists that reflect the diversity of the West Island scene, Concordia Students Mohammed Shihabeldeen (a.k.a. Meta4ce), Cyrano, and J-Seven.
Meta4ce is a socially engaged MC who has participated in several charity events, most recently N’Ap Rapeando a concert highlighting the importance of multi-culturalism, organized by Concordia during the Hip Hop festival weekend.
According to Meta4ce, the compilation is a great way to create a buzz. “Montreal Hip Hop can’t be reflective of what’s happening in the city if it doesn’t acknowledge West Islanders’ contribution,” he said.
For him this compilation also highlights West Island diversity as, “their music is marked by different cultures be it Indian, Arabic or Haitian.”
Today’s West Island isn’t only diverse in terms of ethnicity but also in language. French rap in the West End suburbs is well-represented by MCs like Cyrano who believes the local hip-hop scene, “is like a volcano which is about to erupt.”
J-Seven, winner of the Hip-Hop Forever 2003 anglophone rap competition mixes Enlgish with a bit of Creole. He has also worked in France with the well-known group Troisi