This past Friday, July 26, House of PainT organizers launched the festival’s 10-year edition in style with a fundraising party held at Ritual Nightclub.
For the occasion, the community festival, which celebrates hip-hop arts and culture, teamed up with World Famous Music, to bring the one and only Hypnotic Brass Ensemble to Ottawa.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the highlight of the night, were joined on stage by local emerging group BlakDenim and Mtl DJ Ruby Jane while B.A.M. artist Omar Oms Hopkinson and the Sick Mindz crew created live art and wowed onlookers with dance demos respectively.
Ottawa-based group BlakDenim warmed up the crowd with an energetic set that had everyone moving. It was pleasantly surprising to see the crowd respond this positively to a new and virtually unknown local group. BlakDenim, which fuses hip-hop, funk and rock in a unique way, was on stage with 3 vocalists, a flutist, a trumpetist, a tubist, drums, keys, a bass, a cello and a DJ. Together they performed the songs One Hit Wonder and Intoxicated among others and they concluded with an original cover of Biggie’s Juicy as the crowd rapped along to the classic hip-hop song.
Montreal-based DJ Ruby Jane kept people moving in between acts as bboys and bbgirls alike did their thing on the dancefloor.
The announcement of this year’s special 10-year anniversary lineup was equally exciting as organizers revealed an eclectic roster of local, national and international artists representing all five pillars of hip-hop culture. The 5-day festival, taking place between September 11 and September 15, at various locations, will kick off with an audience-judged poetry slam and House of Merc party. The lineup will also feature a hip-hop show with headliner DL Incognito, a graphic art show and MC showcase, a performance by hip-hop culture pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, and a knowledge conference geared towards Ottawa’s urban arts community without forgetting the Main Event under Dunbar Bridge with something for everyone. The local scene will be represented by DJs Illo, Magnificent, Kid SL and Shub from A Tribe Called Red as with Missing LinX, Jaguar Priest, and D-Trak.
It was 12:15 am by the time the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble hit the stage. By then, a big crowd had formed inside Ritual and many people piled in front of the stage to catch the internationally renowned eight-piece group perform live. It’s impressive to just look at these young talented musicians and their instruments, let alone hear their music and witness their unquestionable skills and coordinated dance moves live. Hailing from Chicago, the brothers, who recently released their latest album Fly: The Customs Prelude, premiered some new material like Planet of the Aeps, Exchange Rate, and Favella Funk along with previous releases like First Class, Party Started, Balicky Bon and War.
Being no strangers to Ottawa, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble clearly attracted many fans and made new ones as they had everyone dancing and grooving throughout their solid set. The brothers’ synergy is on a whole other level and this certainly showed on stage as they offered a highly professional, entertaining and dynamic performance that only experienced close-knit groups can deliver.
The HoPX fundraiser and launch party gave Ottawa a taste of what’s to come in September and if this was any indication of what the annual festival has in store for the capital city’s urban community, then brace yourselves because hip-hop culture will be served on a gold platter.