Relic / Abstract Artform / M-Kaps / The Happy Unfortunate / VP Nights 09-20-12

by Ryan Reyes

photos by Khammy Phanthavong

Relic aka Rel McCoy is touring the country in support of his album Miles To Go. He’s a talented jack-of-all-trades who raps, produces, engineers, DJ’s and sings. The man has won a Juno for producing songs for Canadian hip hop artist Shad. His Winnipeg stop at VP Nights included local openers Abstract Artform, M-Kaps and The Happy Unfortunate.

The Happy Unfortunate with their jazzy-boom-bap-centric tracks are a joy to listen to. Case in point: “July 07” their first single from their sophomore album July Never Dies. Their stage presence has improved significantly since the last time I’ve seen them perform. Envoy and Malcolm-Jay effortlessly traded verses on tracks “Just A Minute” and “Long Shot.”

M-Kaps, a hip hop artist and singer was up next. Smooth is the perfect word to describe his delivery.  “Sole Repossession,” his song that struck me the most, recounts painful relationship struggles.

Abstract Artform came out swinging with “Here We Are” from their debut album Prairie Kid. Their high energy set continued with stomping, rap exercises and oh yes songs: “Hands up”, “I Am Canadian” and “Summer in the City.” They debuted “BAMF”(produced by Canadian beatsmith/MPC-Jedi Fresh Kils) a new song from their upcoming album. Kid A then passed the mic “like a regal muthafugga” to Relic.

Relic grabbed the mic from Abstract Artform and conveyed his appreciation to the crowd. There weren’t hundreds in attendance but he made sure that he connected with his audience. Dude is humble, it’s obvious. He started off with a couple crowd-response chants that warmed up the crowd nicely. He had us hooked by the third song “Work of Heart” off his new LP Miles To Go. Check out Muneshine’s mellow remix of this track online. Rel McCoy raps well.

When he spits you can hear every word. His production chops are simply excellent. The masterful use of samples and funky drum programming will leave you head-nodding non-stop. “The Goodness” showcased his ability as a songwriter to write memorable hooks. He starts off singing during “Out of the Blue” and heck he sounds good. Heck it works. A warning; if you check out Miles To Go on you will want to buy it!

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