Bluesfest recap with Cody Coyote, Tapas, Keys N Krates & more
HipHopCanada and CapCityHipHop were down at Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats for day four of RBC Bluesfest 2018.
The day featured performances by some unbelievable talent including several local acts. We caught live shows from Cody Coyote, Tapas, London On Da Track and Toronto-based Keys N Krates.
Check our review below. You can find more photos from the show towards the bottom of the write-up.
Ojibwe rapper Cody Coyote kicked off his performance on a spiritual note as he came out performing “Warrior,” a well know song from the Indigenous artist. As the song ended, Cody went on to talk to the crowd and introduce himself as not only a artist, but a warrior, survivor and a storyteller. Then before getting into his second song, “Bloodline,” he went on telling his story on how while growing up he didn’t know much about his culture and that it took him 26 years to meet his blood family. Cody then revealed that his father was back stage watching the show and made a point of saying it was an honour to have one of his brothers in the crowd. That brother also grew up as part of an adopted family, and it took him 58 years to reconnect with his family. That’s when Cody jumped into “Bloodline.”
He followed that up with “Don’t Give Up,” where he talks about being six years sober and an attempt he made at taking his own life; an inspiration for many battling with sobriety, suicide and other issues.
As if the performance wasn’t already touching enough, the rapper then moved on to a record called “Don’t Give Up.” Before really getting into it, Cody asked the crowd to look to the person next to them and compliment them. As the crowd responded, and love was being spread throughout the audience, Cody handed out free bracelets before jumping back into his set.
He continued performing more powerful tracks like “Let The Flow Grow,” a song dedicated to Indigenous men with long hair, and “Savage,” a word Cody made clear he wasn’t fond of since Indigenous people have historically been slandered as “savages.” Near the ending of the show, Cody brought out some family members who dance to show off their traditional moves.
With the hot summer sun the stage was set for some sunny side hip-hop, in came Tapas at 6:30 p.m. at the Black Sheep Stage. The crowd started off small and very adhesive to the hip-hop trio, a few head nods here and there with the occasional hand wave. But then it switched when Hyf, the multi-talented rapper, poet and producer, started bouncing around to the lethal bars G.Grand was spitting. Their vibe and chemistry was clear from first to last song, winning over the crowd with energetic ad-libs.
What made their performance noteworthy was the production by Jeepz who knew what the crowd wanted to hear without forcing “pop-rap” sounds. Hyf briefly mentioned – to everyone’s surprise – that this was actually their first live performance as Tapas.
The bridging of generations made this a standout performance, especially in the age of mumble rap where lyricism and MCs are seen by some as “boring.” G.Grand was able to bring that old-school flow and Hyf balanced it out with some new age swagger. The highlight of the show was when Tapas gave a birthday shout out to their beat maker/producer, I Am Jeepz.
The final song was a love letter to Ottawa followed by a loud round of applause.
London On Da Track
By the vibe alone it was clear that London On Da Track took over day four of RBC Bluesfest. Everyone who was anyone was at the Black Sheep Stage at 8 p.m. ready for an electric show by the Atlanta producer. You know the artist is big when the front row is full of teens and pre-teens! Ten minutes before the show started 14 year olds were even crowd surfing. Despite being 15 minutes late due to technical issues London put on an explosive show! Visit @CapCityHipHop for the exclusive video of London jumping in the crowd and partying with his fans.
His set list was packed with top 40 hits, throwbacks and tribute tracks. London won over the crowd by starting his performance with 6ix9ine, transitioning to Chief Keef, and settling the crowd with the recent Drake album. “In My feelings” and “Lucid Dreams” by Juice Wrld had everyone going off. The biggest downside to his show was transitions, he was able to get the crowd lit but would stop the track to randomly speak about something. At one point he stopped an Avicii song to say that “white people can say nigga.” To close his show he played some classic Young Thug tracks and his biggest hit, “Lifestyle,” resulting in some wild mosh pits and loud singalongs.
Keys N Krates
To close out the hip-hop acts of day four, the crowd was blessed by the live Toronto hip-hop band Keys N Krates at 9:30 p.m. on the Black Sheep Stage. It seemed like London had shut down the show but to our surprise Keys N Krates came in like a wrecking ball (no Miley Cyrus). Drummer Adam Tune set the tone with emphatic energy, Keyboard player David Matisse provided crowd work and turntablist Jr. Flo came in with the dance moves. The crowd was going bananas!
Keys N Krates offered the hybrid EDM and hip-hop sound that is taking over the music industry in the same lane as Diplo, Steve Aioki and DJ Carnage. What made their show so unique was the infusion of instruments into their show. From hardcore-ravers to pure hip-hop fans, everyone was jumping to their hit song “Dum Dee Dum.” This was the loudest and most electric performance of the day. People were leaving the main City Stage to come see Krates perform concluding day four with a bang!
Written by Sean Jean (@SeanJeann) & Nate G for HipHopCanada & CapCityHipHop
Photography by Sean Jean for HipHopCanada & CapCityHipHop
Photos of Cody Coyote by Scott Penner for Ottawa Bluesfest