Hopscotch Festival celebrates 10th anniversary with high-energy headliner YBN Cordae
Hopscotch Arts Festival is an annual hip-hop festival held in Halifax, Nova Scotia that showcases the best local talent alongside legendary international acts such as Rakim, Joyner Lucas, Brother Ali and more.
This year marked the festival’s tenth year anniversary and featured YBN Cordae as it’s headliner. Organizers like Billy Comer and Alexis Cormier have been working tirelessly to build Hopscotch into the premiere event that it is today while empowering the voices of young talent in the HRM. I have been lucky enough to perform two years in a row and was in attendance this year as a correspondent for HipHopCanada.
I landed in in Halifax on Friday in time for the first event of the festival which was the Each One Teach One Halifax’s Next Best Competition.
Artists were selected to compete by respected representatives in the community with the prize of an opening slot on the big stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. The stakes were high and the competition was fierce but before we could get started a wildcard slot was up for grabs and in true hip-hop form it would be a cypher that decided the winner. Many artists such as EPDMC, Frantik, Chell and others would compete but in the end it was Marz The Advocate that would prevail and move on. Once the roster was chosen, the performances began.
First up was my selection on behalf of HipHopCanada, PEI born MC, LXVNDR. She had a dancer with her who’s also a well known DJ named Kenni G, and veteran MC CEE for support. She wowed the crowd with her smooth vibes and her cool subtle hypeness. Next up was Jeffrey who was also very chill but had great energy and crowd control. Marz went up next but it he seemed unprepared as if he didn’t expect to win. Still he pulled off a great performance ending strong with two dope tracks. Sipset endorsed artist Shanni 22 went up next and had the crowd behind him as he dropped heavy tracks that had people rushing the stage. In the end it was LXVNDR who won the prestigious opportunity to open for YBN Cordae at Roger’s Square making us at HipHopCanada extremely proud (we knew you could do it).
After one hell of a warm up, we woke up to a beautiful day in Halifax ready for the main event.
Roger’s Square was filling up early for the Roast The Coast B-boy battles and the excitement was building. After a dope reunion set by DJ IV and Okay TK it was time for the Each One Teach One winner, and LXVNDR did not disappoint. She killed her set and moved around on the stage like a true professional, pleasing the crowd and even tossed a holistic crystal with healing properties.
After her it was time for the phenomenal Ray Reaves, an artist who reps Atlanta and Halifax, bringing technical raps and melodies together. His stage show was banging with a lot emotion, confidence and most of all heart. Afterwards 17-year-old Shay Pitts took the stage with her signature ferocity. She tore up the mic with a flow reminiscent of a young MC Lyte and rocked new and classic beats. After Benjamin and a local dance troupe performed, three members of Sipset took the stage but it was veteran MC Tachichi who stole the show. He quarterbacked the set and controlled the crowd with ease showing why his name is still synonymous as one of Canada’s best. A tandem of artists representing Melissa McMaster’s 902 Hip Hop took the stage with a series of sets, while Dartmouth rapper Pvrx was a noticeable standout with his stellar performance.
Finally, KOTD rapper and Halifax legend Pat Stay came to the stage to announce YBN Cordae and the crowd went nuts. Shortly after, Cordae jumped on stage and went in. He started out in a chair with his back to the crowd, which seemed odd, but then quickly shifted gears and was animated and energetic, banging out hit after hit including a cover of Eminem’s “My Name Is.” He ended his performance with his signature track “Kung Fu” and the crowd was lit. Everyone walked away from the event was amped and ready to keep the party going, heading to a local nightclub Hide and Seek for the after-party.
All in all, the tenth anniversary of Hopscotch was the biggest and best so far. All of Halifax’s biggest and brightest stars came out to shine and attendance was through the roof. Fans came from all over Atlantic Canada to take part in the legendary event that was expertly planned and went off without a hitch. See you to 2020 for Hopscotch 11!
Written by Fortunato for HipHopCanada
Photography by @chell1333
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