Lil Uzi Vert and Juice Wrld headline Western’s Purple Fest

Western alum, Loud Luxury, and multi-platinum producer, Murda Beatz also performed at the six-hour long day festival during FOCO last Saturday in London, Ont.

Clad in a ski-mask with four bags hanging off of his shoulders, Lil Uzi Vert performs in the on-campus parking lot turned festival venue. Photo / Benjamin Hargreaves

Clad in a ski-mask with four bags hanging off of his shoulders, Lil Uzi Vert performs in the on-campus parking lot turned festival venue. Photo / Benjamin Hargreaves

By: Benjamin Hargreaves

The sold-out festival at Western University went off without a hitch last Saturday, but that might not have been a good thing.

The concert, organized by Western University’s Student Council, sold out of its 12,000 tickets with the Western WSC stating that, at its peak, there were over 11,000 in attendance.

Purple Fest was a mid-day music festival organized by Western’s USC in a bid to draw unsanctioned partiers off residential streets.

The consensus of the crowd was that Grammy-nominated recording artist, Lil Uzi Vert, was the performer attendees were looking forward to most. This seemed to be the case as the crowd broke apart into scattered mosh pits upon his entry.

Before Uzi took the stage, Chicago rapper, Juice Wrld, performed his explosive hits Lucid Dreams and Lean Wit Me. He also covered the late XXXTENTACION’s Take a Step Back.

Other acts included Maestro, Drezo, WISE, Matt Royal and Toronto based rapper, Jordon Solomon.

With only one unspecified non life-threatening injury reported by the Western USC, they consider Purple Fest a success, but it might have caused problems in other ways.

The concert was meant to give students an alternative to partying on streets, but it might have magnified the problem, according to John Pare, London’s police chief at a news conference addressing FOCO on Tuesday.

In 2016, the university decided to move homecoming to late October as a way of deterring the illegal street parties. But the student body’s response to this decision wasn’t what the university expected.  

With the new date of homecoming plagued by midterms and colder weather, the students took to the streets on Oct. 1, 2016, for the first ever “fake homecoming” or FOCO.

London police estimated that about 10,000 people showed up in 2016 and that increased to 11,000 in 2017.

But this year was by far the biggest turn-out for FOCO with the LPS announcing Tuesday that they estimate the number of partiers to have been 20,000.

Details are still emerging about FOCO but the LPS reported that there were 134 charges, over 3,000 warnings and 28 people taken to hospital. The costs of policing alone are expected to be in excess of $100,000.

When the dust settles around FOCO we will have to wait to see if Purple Fest will make an appearance next year.

Hedley's second show since announcing hiatus sees lone protestor and continued trend of “frat boy” antics.

Frontman Jacob Hoggard, identifies as Donald Trump, covers Frank Ocean and takes a fan’s phone, again.

Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture.

Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture.

By Benjamin Hargreaves

Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard continued his “frat boy persona” and habit of stealing phones during the band’s Cageless tour stop in Peterborough, Ont. on Friday, marking their second performance since announcing an indefinite hiatus amid ongoing sexual misconduct allegations.

With performers Shawn Hook, Neon Dreams and most recently, Quebec City’s Liteyears, cancelling as Hedley’s opening acts, the band took the stage with only a few songs played over the speakers as an opener.

Multiple women on social media have spoken out against Hoggard regarding alleged acts of sexual misconduct. Most recently, on Feb. 25, a 24-year-old Ottawa women came to the CBC with accusations against Hoggard regarding several alleged encounters occurring in 2016. 

After this allegation was published, Hoggard released a statement on Twitter admitting to behaving in a way that “objectified women.”

Roughly an hour before the show began, Hoggard took to Twitter again, this time acknowledging that the CBC has told him new allegations are going to come out from yet another woman, writing, “The allegation is startling and categorically untrue. It is not within my capacity as a person to force anyone beyond their boundaries."

“What’s going on Peterborough?” Hoggard shouted to a crowd of roughly 2,300 people in the venue that has a concert capacity of about 5,000. The crowd cheered as Hoggard began singing “Better Days”, a song from their new album, Cageless.

Hedley’s setlist for the night would also include their hits “Anything,” “Cha-Ching” and “Lose Control” as well as “Bad Tattoo” and “All Night” from their most recent album, all being received with deafening cheers from the audience.

However, Hedley’s visit to Peterborough was not well received by all.

“It makes me angry [that] this is happening,” says Shawna Blackwood a 26-year-old Peterborough resident and only protestor at Hedley’s Peterborough performance.  

Blackwood stood outside the Memorial Centre for just under an hour leading up to Hedley’s 7:30 p.m. scheduled start.

Shawna Blackwood protesting outside of the Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ont. (Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture)

Shawna Blackwood protesting outside of the Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ont. (Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture)

Blackwood believes the Memorial Centre should have cancelled the show, much like the Windsor Ont. venue did to Hedley’s scheduled performance on Mar. 11. She also believes peaceful protest is useful in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

“I’m just here commending their bravery,” Blackwood said referring to the women speaking out against Hoggard. “I’m providing access to information about reporting sexual assault and the fact that consent is sexy and no means no.”

Blackwood  stood outside the entrance to the Memorial Centre holding a sign reading “She said no!” in reference to the Ottawa woman who came forward, for roughly five minutes before two security guards approached her. Each guard took a pamphlet she was handing out on how to report sexual assault and then asked her to leave the property.

Hedley’s performance on Friday included a rendition of Frank Ocean’s, rather explicit track, “Self Control,” which Hoggard delivered as a solo.

Hoggard continued, what The Canadian Press reporter David Friend coined, his “frat-boy persona,” after taking a fan’s phone in their Brampton, Ont. show on Mar. 1.

Almost mirroring his antics from the night before, Hoggard called out a fan in the front row for texting during the show. He proceeded to ask for the phone and after scrolling through her contacts, called the girl’s father.

“Hey, it’s Jake from Hedley, we’re on stage at the Hedley show in Peterborough,” Hoggard said.

Hoggard stayed on the phone with the girl’s father for another 15 seconds, before saying “I miss you and I wish you were here at the Hedley concert. I’ll talk to you later. TTYL. BRB. LOL. JK Dad,” and hanging up. After scolding the girl once more for texting he ended the charade by taking a selfie on the girl’s phone.

Hoggard would not directly address the allegations against him but he would repeat a speech he has delivered in multiple performances, including Hedley’s Brampton show the night before.

“Peterborough, thank you for standing behind us,” he said, “for believing in us and loving us every step of the way.”

“It’s fans like you that keep us doing what we are doing,” Hoggard continued. “We couldn’t get through this without people like you, through the ups and the downs, through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad. ‘Cause Peterborough, sometimes life sucks and that’s why we’ve got you, ‘cause Peterborough sometimes life sucks and that’s why you’ve got us.”

The crowd then assisted Hoggard with the final verse of the song, with Hoggard ending it by saying goodnight to the crowd.

The response was not quite a standing ovation, but it was enough to bring the band back to the stage for one encore song.

This piece was edited by Valerie Dittrich. 


Top Six Canadian Albums to Look Out For in 2018

By: Manuela Vega

With albums like Arcade Fire’s eclectic Everything Now and Daniel Caesar’s gorgeous debut Freudian, there’s no doubt that Canadian musicians were standouts in 2017. While artists set the bar high last year, there’s plenty of reason to believe that 2018 will also introduce a multitude of memorable tracks. Be sure to look out for these six albums this year!

6) Ought: Room Inside the World

This Montreal band has released the singles ”These 3 Things” and “Disgraced in America” from their upcoming album, Room Inside the World. If their LP is anything like the singles, Feb. 16 is bound to bring a collection of reflective, existential anthems. Ought captures the essence of isolation and contemplation in their melancholy riffs, but they mix up their rhythms to the point that you can justify happily dancing to a sad song.

5) Born Ruffians: Uncle, Duke, & The Chief

Continuing their stream of passionate belting and upbeat rhythms, Born Ruffians introduces a sense of true candidness on what has been released from their fifth full-length album Uncle, Duke, & The Chief. Between touching on the inability to mask feelings of a longing heart in “Miss You,” accepting the inevitability of death in “Forget Me,” and regretting the vulnerability of an open heart in “Love Too Soon,” the Toronto band sets up an album of soft, jangly tunes to sing along to on Feb. 16.

4) Chromeo: TBA

Guitarist and lead-singer Dave 1 and multi-instrumentalist P-Thugg have been avidly sharing on Instagram and Twitter their dedication to perfecting the production of their electronic-funk album due in the spring. The first single “Juice” is an exuberant synthesized jam about a partner who gets shamelessly hit on in public because she’s “got the juice.” The light-energy, feel-good song continues to play on this double meaning. Dave 1 told Beats 1 that this will be their “most robust, conceptually tight album.”

3) Metric: TBA

Metric has a knack for creating lively hits that express liberation with every head-bob, sway, or strut. Combining synths, lush beats, and tight strums, paired with lead singer Emily Haines’ vibrant voice has worked especially well for the band on past highly regarded albums, such as Fantasies (2009) and Synthetica (2012). Although there’s still no new album title or release date, the quartet has been teasing fans on Instagram with pictures of studio visits since September. Since their last album Pagans in Vegas (2015), Haines has released a solo album in a style different from that of her band’s, with a distinct focus on vocals and reflection, raising the question of whether or not 2018 will be the year that Metric goes in a totally new direction.

2) Rhye: Blood

Former Canadian solo-artist Mike Milosh and Danish producer Robin Braun are the duo behind Rhye’s fusion sound. The 2018 pre-release of Blood showcases the steady electronic, folky jazz that backs delicate vocals on provocative works like “Taste” and soothing pieces like “Song for You.” Releasing the rest of their album on Feb. 2, Rhye will surely bring a diverse range of sounds to an increasingly contemporary form of R&B.

1) Charlotte Day Wilson: Stone Woman

The Toronto singer-songwriter and producer announced this month that her new EP Stone Woman will be released on Feb. 23. Since her melodious R&B EP CDW debuted in 2016, Wilson has been captivating listeners with her effortless elegance. Although tracks from CDW like “Work” and “Find You” are hypnotically mellow, the 2018 single “Nothing New” ripples with calculated power, rising and settling around the easy flow of Wilson’s formidable voice. It sets the stage for Stone Woman to be as enchanting as her previous release.

This piece was edited by Valerie Dittrich. 


Artist Profile: Ms. Teaze talks female empowerment in hip-hop

This interview is part of a new series by CanCulture Magazine, called Artist Profiles. We reach out to underground Canadian artists all over the country to talk to them about their music, inspirations and future plans. We want to give them a voice and recognition for their work in the ever-changing landscape of the music industry. 

Photo by Erin Buhr.

Photo by Erin Buhr.

By Latoya Powell

Alberta-based hip-hop artist Ms. Teaze announced, during an interview with CanCulture, that she will be releasing a new album by the end of winter 2018.

Hailing from Red Deer, AB, the female lyricist has encouraged and empowered many people’s lives. In fall of 2015, Ms. Teaze released her debut mixtape titled Unity, Empowerment, Respect. Since then, she has performed at venues and music festivals such as; Edmonton Hip Hop Awards and the One Love Music Festival. Ms. Teaze has also been the opening act for many well-known artists such as Wu-Tang and Lloyd Banks, breaking barriers within the province’s hip-hop scene.

Check out CanCulture’s exclusive interview with Ms Teaze as she shares her journey, gratitude and message of unity, empowerment and respect.

Q: Why did you decide to start rapping?

A: "I was sitting in a chair in the basement, and I went into my brother's room. I grabbed the NAS CD, popped it in and Hate Me Now featuring P. Diddy came on. I kept on replaying that song over and over again, because I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I want to be a rapper. This sounds so cool!' Then I started going for walks by myself and I would just freestyle while I was walking."

Q: How has being a female in the industry impacted your career?

A: "I love being a female in the industry. At first, I had to claw my way for respect. I asked one of the main DJs (to put) me on. When I did,  he was like “eh,  who are you? I’ve never heard about any female.” I (said), “Give me a chance! Give me a chance!” and he gave me a chance. There are not a lot of females in the industry, but I started to get the respect then the rest is history. It was great."

Q: What do you think is the highlight of your career, so far?

A: "There's so many great things that I’ve got to do. The highlight of my career was meeting and opening up for Jadakiss; that was pretty amazing. For years, I was talking about it [performing with Jadakiss] with my brother and he was like “no, they’ll never be allowed in Canada.” I’ve liked him since I was 15. My brother got me into him.  I phoned (my brother) and I said “guess what?  Your sister is opening up for D-block.” It was such a special moment in my career. I’ve been so blessed like, it’s unbelievable."

Q: How would you describe your image?

A: "My image is, I’ll wear whatever the hell I want. In fact, I was performing at the Hip-Hop Awards in Edmonton last year. Everyone was dressed to the nines and I’m like, “you know what? …” I took my shoes off and I performed on stage with my shoes off. I do not care what people think! I feel comfortable in an Adidas sweat suit or a white t-shirt and black pants. You’ll never see me dress, you know?  … just so sexy. Not to degrade anything of what’s going on. But I do see female artists in the industry that are a lot bigger (and) they (choose) to sell their bodies a little bit and I will never do that. That’s just not who I am. But I need a pair of nice fresh kicks; that’s my favourite!"

Q: What kind advice would you give to women who are in a male dominated industry?

A: "I have my CD that I’ve released it’s called Unity, Empowerment, Respect. That is just so powerful to me - unity empowerment and respect. I believe that women in this industry need to really be themselves. I always say be unique, be yourself and be somebody. Those are three that I think are powerful. Be yourself - don't wake up in the morning and act like someone else because this industry can kill you. Being a female too, there are males that are getting jealous; you have to kind of see that and say, "Hey I’m not out here trying to dominate you or anything like that. Let’s work together." Unity, right? I’ve been so blessed to get the respect that I want in this game."

Q: In some of your songs you talk about overcoming insecurities, difficult relationships and situations. What is something you are most proud to have overcame and why?

A: "Music has saved my life and it’s just such a powerful message. If I didn't have music, I wouldn't know where I would be. I’ve overcome lots of things. My life is not a walk in the park. I have seen things that people wouldn't even believe, but I have music as my outlet. That is my safe spot, because nobody can take that away from me. That’s why music is such a strong passion for me. You can break up with me, you can take my belongings, my home and (I can) lose a job, but you cannot take my voice away, unless you take my voice box. That’s the one thing musicians have and no one can take that away from them."

Photo by Erin Buhr

Photo by Erin Buhr

Q: What is your favourite song, published or unpublished, and why?

A: "I really like my song Last Laugh. I released it a couple years ago and it’s powerful to me. I got out of a long term relationship with my first love. I wrote that song right after and even today I’m inspired by my own music, which is kind of rare. A lot of people have came up to me and (said), “Your music has helped me.” That's why I make music, for people to be inspired and kind of relate to me."

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: "December 1st I am opening up for Sean Kingston and that’s going to be a great show in Red Deer, my hometown. I’m (also) releasing a CD. I can’t wait! I already have the name for it and I’m not going to get too much into it. But I’m going to take my time on it[CD] because I feel like I can take my time. I have enough respect to fall off for a few months and just come back. I want to take my time and get it out by February. Be on the lookout for my new CD."

Q: Anything else you want people to know?

A: "You can do anything you set your mind to. If you have a passion please follow it. Depression is so out there right now, it's unbelievable. Find a passion, stick to it and work hard."

Toronto rappers make debut in VICE documentary, 6ix Rising

By: Andrea Josic & Raizel Harjosubroto

Toronto’s TDOT era is coming to a close after rappers like Kardinal Offishall and Rascalz coined the term “T.O.” a decade ago. When artists like Drake and The Weeknd put the city on the map, The ‘6ix’ became Toronto’s new nickname. 6ix Rising, a new documentary by VICE, follows the journeys of the city’s emerging rappers and how they made a name for themselves on the rap scene.

The documentary features artists Prime Boys, Friyie, Big Lean, CMDWN, Jazz Cartier and Pressa. Director Shawney Coney explores their stories, how the city influences their music and how they are on the verge of fame.

It opens with Jimmy Prime of Prime Boys, a rap collective consisting of himself, Donnie and Jay Whiss. A rap collective is different from a rap group because while the rappers collaborate to make music, each artist has their own discography as well. Growing up in the Esplanade, Prime and his friends created Prime Boys and focused on rap in order to stay out of trouble.

Jimmy Prime in 6ix Rising. (Courtesy of Noisey by VICE)

Jimmy Prime in 6ix Rising. (Courtesy of Noisey by VICE)

“I invented the ‘6’,” says Jimmy Prime. “The ‘6’ is a new brand for the city. I felt like no one was taking the city seriously.”

Rapper Friyie was inspired by the different cultures and musical sounds in his neighbourhood of southside Jane and Finch to make music.

A few months after he graduated from York University, Friyie performed his hit single Money Team at the T-Mobile arena before the Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight in August.

“It’s crazy how life works,” said Friyie after watching Mayweather working out to his music. “I was a young kid just working and trying to spit motivational music and it was able to motivate a legend like Floyd Mayweather.”

In December 2015, rapper Big Lean lost his close friend, Lotto Max, in a drive-by in Parma Court, a public housing project neighbourhood in Scarborough. Although he lost the partner with whom he created the rap collective Da Degrees, Big Lean stays motivated to pursue music.

“I’m going to go hard for what he wanted and what I wanted,” says Big Lean. “He’s working up there and I’m working down here until we meet again.”

CMDWN, pronounced “come down,” a Toronto rap collective consisting of Fiji and Ca$tro Guapo, was originally known for hosting house parties in a one-bedroom apartment above a bar.

Ca$tro Guapo’s family is from South Jane and Fiji’s mom lives on Parliament and Shuter. Coming from rough parts of the city, CMDWN uses music as an escape.

“Music, to us, is a gateway to freedom to do what we want and live how we want,” said Fiji.

As the duo’s personalities gained laughter from the audience throughout the screening, it’s evident that CMDWN’s chemistry attracts various crowds.

“We’re opening doors for people that are different,” said Fiji. “Our fans vary from hipsters to weirdos, to hood n*****.”  

Toronto-born Jazz Cartier claims the city as his home. He looks down upon artists who leave Toronto for the U.S. to pursue music because when they return, he feels they can’t claim the city as their own.

Jazz Cartier in 6ix Rising (Courtesy: Noisey by VICE)

Jazz Cartier in 6ix Rising (Courtesy: Noisey by VICE)

“Your city has to f*** with you before anyone f***s with you,” said Cartier, in regards to creating music in your hometown.

Despite the respect he has for the city, Jay Whiss of Prime Boys feels that an artist needs to go to the U.S. in order to make it big.

“We get caught, we can’t go to the States,” Whiss stresses the importance of keeping a clean record. “That’s the number one market. So if we can’t get there, it’s useless. There’s only so much you can do in Canada.”

Pressa originates from the Driftwood neighbourhood near Jane and Finch. Pressa has been unable to tour in the U.S. because of a criminal record.

His career started as an opening act on Drake’s Boy Meets World tour. Last May, Pressa’s show in London, England was cancelled due to negative press around his arrest in early 2016.

Pressa in 6ix Rising. (Courtesy of Noisey by VICE)

Pressa in 6ix Rising. (Courtesy of Noisey by VICE)

“I have better things and better plans for my future,” Pressa said when reading his allegations. “I’m just trying to work and have a better life than where I came from.”

While these rappers have gained local attention, they have yet to take their fame outside of the country.

Whiss acknowledges that it’s difficult to break through. “A lot of people in Toronto have a spotlight as if they’re a big artist already,” said Whiss. “The pressure of having to take it to that next level and getting there, it’s hard.”

In a Q & A session after the screening, Coney said that he is looking into making a documentary about music producers who are more established, with 10 or more years of experience in Toronto’s music industry.

The full Noisey documentary can be viewed here.