Masta Ace kills it in Calgary on Son of Yvonne Tour 2013 [Review]
Calgary, AB – Masta Ace made a stop at Commonwealth Bar & Stage in Calgary—and killed it— on Mar. 19 during his Son of Yvonne Tour. Performing alongside fellow eMC crews members Stricklin and Wordsworth, and headed by openers Jazzlib Collective and KIDS, Masta Ace succeeded in performing one of the most well-received Calgary hip-hop shows of 2013 so far.
The doors to Commonwealth Bar & Stage opened at 9 p.m. but the show didn’t start until closer to 11 p.m. Scheduled openers, The Bundies, had to cancel last-minute due to health problems but Jazzlib Collective and KIDS stepped in to start off the show. Local crew Jazzlib Collective failed to get the crowd going. Words to the wise—don’t open a show by apologizing for excess alcohol consumption. If the crowd isn’t fully loaded yet, you shouldn’t be either. The crew performed a series of freestyles, as well as a track called ‘The Libs Is Coming Through’— an earworm tune that sounded like a Rastafarian ode to Biggie’s ‘Hypnotize.’ KIDS did a much better job at energizing the crowd with their high-energy rhymes backed by danceable beats. The Vancouver-based trio of Jakub Evolved, Kelvin, and Jay Mizz were so fun to watch. As a crew they have terrific chemistry—striking ad lib poses and grinding to their own beats.
Next on the roster was Brooklyn-based emcee Wordsworth. As his name suggests, Wordsworth is a literary master, of sorts. He opted to pull a freestyle, and the ladies went wild. Wandering through the crowd, Wordsworth serenaded the ladies of Calgary with his tight raps and cheeky rhymes. He probably could have had his pick of groupies—guys, included—at the end of the evening.
Finally, the much anticipated moment of the night arrived—Masta Ace took the stage. Sporting an all-white ensemble, Adidas sock on his left arm and a Fila wrist cuff on his right, Ace strolled on to the stage. Ace was accompanied by Stricklin, a fellow eMC crew member who has been touring with Ace for the last decade. Also sporting a white ensemble, Stricklin provided phenomenal backup—as well as a few of his own rhymes—with his signature nasal, deep-toned prose. Midway through the set, Stricklin popped on a pair of thick-rimmed glasses in true Spike Lee fashion—it was adorable.
With years of touring under his belt—or should I say, snapback— Ace is a seasoned pro at peppering the audience. He used personal anecdotes to introduce most of his songs. “Nineteen Seventeen Something” is, according to Ace, the year in which he started sneaking and scratching vinyls behind his mother’s back—the year he became immersed in the world of hip hop. He introduced ‘Take A Walk’ by inviting fans to come to his hotel room to “take a walk” with him through Calgary during his downtime. If anyone has managed to figure out where Ace is staying in Calgary, feel free to take him up on this offer.
Towards the end of the set, Ace switched gears. He traded in his snapback for a white Wimbledon-embossed bucket hat, just in time to perform ‘Beautiful.’ Getting a Calgary audience to dance is an accomplishment in of itself. But getting a male-dominated Calgary audience to sing ‘Beautiful’ in falsetto is true mastery– no short feat for the Masta, himself.
As the show wound down at 1:30 a.m., Ace brought Wordsworth back on to the stage and eMC closed the show. As concert-goers reluctantly left the venue, there was no doubt that the concert was one for the books. Even Ace agreed. He tweeted, “Top 2 craziest shows on this tour so far, Calgary” before heading out for post-concert festivities.
Review and photography by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada