Christmas Rappin’ 6: Getting Your Holiday Veggies
Vancouver, BC – Originally published Dec. 22, 2015 – There’s nothing that I love more than a good Christmas party, and the holiday season provided Vancouver with the perfect opportunity to bring together the hip-hop community for a great cause this past Thursday. Christmas Rappin’ set out to raise funds for the Downtown Vancouver Eastside Women’s Shelter and teased a lineup that was admirable for it’s 6th year running.
Headlined by Roc Nation’s very own, Casey Veggies, the show was poised to give Vancouver a great chance to get in one last epic show before the new year at one of our personal favourite venues, the Alexander (which has showcased it’s own amount of epic talent this last year). With a solid list of local openers: Dkay, KIDS, HeatWave, Seth Kay, JayKin and David Fields, and sounds by The Freshest and Flipout, the evening was anticipated to bring out a mix of both local fans as well as Veggies fanatics.
Being a fairly recent newcomer to the Vancouver scene, I was surprised at just how comfortable the crowd was by the time I stepped into the venue just before 11pm. Groups of people could be found scattered throughout the three floors, chatting with the local talent or friends, and introducing themselves if you were close enough. People were stoked to be out to support such a great cause, but they were also stoked to have a reason to come together again, and support the hip-hop community that everyone here at HipHopcanada works so hard to preserve as well.
Local rappers, KIDS, shared similar feelings by explaining, “Christmas Rappin’ is a special show for us. It’s our third time being invited to the event and we’re grateful to be a part of it. Big shouts to Swing, Flipout, Dave at Timbre as well as Marlon English. All amazing people who take their time to put on a social event annually that goes toward a great cause. The proceeds are going to Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, which resonates with our charitable initiative (thru KIDS for Kids), as we’ve been hosting particular shows for the past 6 months in an effort to build funds we can donate to the same organization.”
Our friends, Dkay, KIDS, HeatWave, Seth Kay, JayKin and David Fields provided everyone with a nice warm-up featuring some of their most recent work, easing people into the evening as we all eased into our drinks. Visuals accompanied performances, previewing music videos to keep the audiences entertained between sets. We had The Freshest spinning and Flipout hosting in-between sets for the night, providing a nice tone to the already positive atmosphere. Progressively the dance floor started to fill, and the crowd came down from the levels closer as we inched closer to midnight. When Casey’s arrival was announced, everyone eagerly turned their attention to focus on the highlight of the evening.
Watching from the second level balcony, it was easy to see that he had managed to draw out some die-hard fans. After a quick introduction, Casey slinked out onto the stage with a confident swagger and an equally as large, yet goofy smile. The first couple of tracks reminisced on his earlier works, and tested the audience’s knowledge of his musical library. Considering Casey has been releasing music since he was 13, he had a lot of material to pull from. Being only a casual fan myself, and having brought someone who I was easing into the genre, I was interested to see how his set would engage everyone else.
The first couple of songs were easy listeners, where he showcased some of his more advanced bar-work, setting the standard high for quality throughout the rest of his set. As the songs progressed and he worked his way into more recent works, he seemed to find his comfort on the stage at the same time that the audience did. Most of us were crowded over the railings, or out on the floor to get a closer look at the Inglewood, California native. Crowd favourites were from his most current album, Live & Grow, which drew on features from Ty Dolla $ign, Yg, and Iamsu!. Personal favourites that initiated a lip-sync battle between the most engaged, were “Tied Up”, “Actin’ Up”, and “New Faces”. But, whether you came to the show open to being converted to a Casey Veggies fan, or you knew every word to his songs, “Backflip” had every person on the lower level attempting their best low-riding.
While the music maintained the quality of the evening, the best part of the show was Casey’s humble engagement with the audience. Some rappers come on stage with something to prove and an ego to match, but Casey seemed to work the stage in a way that gave off a vibe of, “let’s have a couple drinks and listen to some good music.” It was similar to an approach that you might hear from the cute guy you met at the bar; charming, yet enticing you to have more fun than you anticipated you would. He had nothing but positivity to give back to the audience and Vancouver, as he expressed mid-set explaining, “Man, I love Vancouver. You know, I wanna’ move out here one day. Just buy a big house and move out here with you all. I always have a good time here.” More humourously though, I could see hearts melting in the audience when he coached a young lad in serenading his girlfriend front row to his track “Wonderful”. He confidently explained, “I see you in the front there with your girl. Good for you. Go on. Go tell her how great she is. Really let her know.” These quips had the audience at ease and feeling like we just got to spend the night partying with our favourite bro. My guest even expressed how easy of a concert it was to come to as a non-fan. I can vouch for this as I watched him inch closer to the front row while I stayed at the back hiding my average dance moves.
We were all enjoying ourselves so much that when his set ended around 1:30 am, most of us hung around and avoided being the first ones to leave a pretty decent party. Walking down the back hallway, you could lineup and spend some time chatting with Casey and snapping a couple photos if you were fans. Most of the audience stuck around for a couple of minutes talking to the people we had just spent the night hanging out with. Generally that’s what the night felt like – a chill hangout session with all the people you would’ve always wanted to invite. The arrangement of acts was well anticipated, and the details of the evening were well thought out to create a welcoming and unintimidating evening.
It was my first year at Christmas Rappin’ but I can understand why it’s going on it’s 6th year. The night was intended to remind us all of why we love this music community that we get to be a part of, and to re-establish our individual support for live music events through 2016 by giving us a little teaser. If we manage to end off the year supporting some good causes while partaking in said festivities, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. Until next year, that’s a rap.
Written by Kira Hunston for HipHopCanada
Photos: Casey Veggies in Vancouver
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada
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