#CFG | Very Hip + Hop Review – written by: Shairina Brown
Very Hip + Hop Review
Written by Shairina Brown
When we talk about Toronto’s Hip Hop scene you might think of talented stars that have ‘made it’ like Drake, Tory Lanez, or The Weeknd, but there’s more to the industry than just the main stream. Underground artists have been around since the beginning of time, and while we may think of ourselves as ‘cool’ for discovering them long before others, it’s always worth it to lend the support that could help them make it to the top—assuming that’s what they want.
On August 17, 2017 a handful of Toronto’s underground Hip Hop artists by the name of ‘Fukari’ took measures into their own hands and put on their first show in the basement of the Smiling Buddha with the help of creative collective group ‘Queens Park Water Tower (QPTW)’. The show went by the name ‘Very Hip + Hop’ and gave seven talented rappers the time and space to perform in front of a group of supporters.
The atmosphere of the Smiling Buddha was nothing short of intimate that night with the low light ambiance, close knit groups, and the beautiful array of artwork aligned against the walls. The basement was washed in purple and blue hues but it didn’t feel cold in the slightest with the amount of passion and liveliness that filled the modest space.
“Right now I’m incredibly grateful for the community I’ve found with Key-J and all of our collaborators,” Cole/CoZ said. His partner, Key-J/Feanix spoke to his love for Canadian Hip Hop and the amazing things coming out of the country. “We have great content coming out of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, everywhere! Hip hop is the new rock music and I think everyone should follow the northern stars for some direction.”
According to CoZ and Key-J/Feanix, Fukari has grown from a brilliant “network of vocalists and producers to a platform for collaboration with no artistic limitations.” The very definition of the word Fukari is ‘an action, conduct, or situation that is absurd, bullshit, or makes no sense.’ And through this culture of freedom that is encouraged by the leaders of this group—Key-J/Feanix and Cole—one can see how liberated these artists feel when they get up on stage and recite their truths.
One performer, Soby from Calgary, claims he doesn’t necessarily have a musical style and that he simply makes music to represent what he’s feeling at the time. When asked when his musical career started, Soby was pretty forthcoming. “Oh, it started when I was a baby,” he said with a laugh. “When I was about two-years-old my mother forced me to play the piano and I played well… until now, so about eighteen years. But I started getting into rap when I was about eleven and I started rapping two years ago.”
Despite his love for hip hop, Soby’s career goals will actually lead him toward the medical field, though he hopes to still be doing shows even despite being in med school. “I don’t care how many people come out to my shows, I just want to be doing them.”
This differs from one of Fukari’s other artists who goes by the stage name Ozzy. “You never know but I think [that three years from now] I’ll definitely be past the buzz and have some establishment. I might have a deal or I might go the independent route, I’m not sure but like I work way too hard doing this so I know I’ll be established somewhere. And that’s not a cockiness thing that’s just for be to reaffirm it for myself.”
Similar enough to Soby, Ozzy’s music is a reflection of what he feels and when he feels it, though most of his music is a direct reflection of his life or his family. Ozzy’s most recent project is an upcoming EP called ‘Family Tree.’
But not all Fukari’s artists are about that poetic justice lifestyle, some members like Sly de Silva see Hip Hop as a sort of performance piece where he can get into character and theorize about the world from a villainous persona.
“I call what I do white collar gangster rap,” de Silva explains, dressed in a full three piece suit to match. “It’s like influenced by a lot of west coast gangster rap. I take the tropes of gangster rap and attribute them to white-collar crime. In that way, I kind of satirize societal oppressions but it sounds like regular gangster rap.”
Sly’s navigation of the Hip Hop genre differs greatly from Fukari’s wild man, Blocka. Blocka is filled with energy and seems almost erratic in personality and when he’s on stage but he gets the energy flowing through the place and gets everyone jumping. He approaches everyone with a casual flair and a laugh, though his music is a bit dark and the lines he spits can be grounded in reality.
Blocka’s set was often broken up by a variety of conversational lines to the crowd. He spoke of how he was close to giving up on this rap career entirely and how pointless it was that he’d spent all this time and money but then the inspirational bug hit him again and he premiered a song he had written just that day at the show.
And ultimately, that’s what Hip Hop has always been about as a music genre. You take the punches, but you get up and you try and try, and try again until something sticks.
Even despite their differences in style and lyrical content, it’s clear that Fukari exists to uphold the culture of Hip Hop and encourage one another into different facets of creativity without restrictions or set backs.
You can check out Fukari on Facebook, Instagram, nd Soundcloud under the handle ‘FukariMusic’.