Even the folks living in senior citizens homes got a shout-out from Jai Nitai Lotus at his July 2nd show. Like Sarah Linhares and Future Falcon the night before, the Montreal rapper and producer put together a high-energy show that demonstrated his vocal and productions skills, as well as the depth and breadth of his musical knowledge and influences, with samples and references ranging from Charles Mingus to Alice Coltrane and J Dilla.
Many other Montreal talents were showcased, including his band – Jahsun on drums, Mark Haynes on bass, David Ryshpan on keys, Drey Demo on alto sax and Hichem Khalfa on trumpet – along with DJ Simahlak and vocalists Sam I Am and Karma Atchyka of Kalmunity Vibe Collective, in addition to appearances from L.E.S., Ceas Rock and dancer Sikk.
His hope for the show, named the ‘Something You Feel Experience’ after his 2012 self-produced, Polaris Music Prize nominated album, was that it would “transform y’all tonight and make you feel all type of emotions.” Judging from the crowd’s enthusiasm and approving head nods, he was successful. The performance carried a feeling of inclusiveness throughout, which is all too rare a sentiment it seems for hip-hop fans of feminist sensibilities. For women, it has become an all-too common experience to listen excitedly to a new hip-hop album or go to a long-awaited show, only to feel disappointed and degraded (Kanye and Jay-Z come to mind, but I digress…)
Nitai doesn’t waste any time in spreading his message of peace and positivity. He puts himself out there immediately, musically and emotionally. Although there were many family, friends and fans in the audience, there seemed to be many others in the audience who were unfamiliar with his work and possibly hip-hop altogether. He held their attention as he started off speaking about his love for his wife and 4-year old daughter – both in the audience – and the importance of being a good husband and father. He dedicated “Moon Stars” to them and the slow, bluesy track was one of the more mellow moments of the night.
He dedicated “Man I Oughta Be” to his father, a song about raising children right and “speaking truth to the seeds.” And he made sure not to forget a shout-out to his “equally dope” mom.
Even in the more aggressive track “Get Gone,” Karma Atchyka joked “No gangster!” in between the hard-hitting lyrics. Throughout the show, Jai Nitai Lotus and his crew kept the energy, peace and positivity flowing.
Another home-grown talent for Montreal to be proud of.