photo – Amalia J. Nickel

Raphael Saadiq brought his legendary soul music to our lofty Orpheum as part of Vancouver’s Cultural Olympiad series. If there’s one thing VANOC definitely did right, it was Saturday night. [read more]


(Photo – Jamie Sands)

Live Review – Lady Sovereign w/guests
May 22, 2009
Richards on Richards, Vancouver

Lady Sovereign is certainly no lady but that’s the way her fans seem to like her: an unlikely sex symbol, a live wire with drink in hand and anger in tow. Promoting her new album Jigsaw, noticeably more commercial than 2006’s Public Warning, Sov managed to throw a temper tantrum, flash her tits, and get the crowd all riled in up in just one set. [read more]

By Amalia J. Nickel

(Photo – Amalia J. Nickel)

Live Review: Haiku d’Etat feat. Myka 9, Aceyalone and Abstract Rude w/ guests
May 8, 2009
Berbati’s Pan, Portland, OR

Mykah 9, Abstract Rude and Aceyalone – Mike, Aaron and Eddie respectively – brought every possible permutation to the stage as Haiku d’Etat, The A-Team and The Freestyle Fellowship rocked it for hours.  For a mere $13, incidentally the same price as a double vodka and Redbull at Berbati’s Pan in Portland, fans were treated to the profound, the profane and the prophetic lyricism of L.A.’s finest. [read more]

(Photo – Amalia J. Nickel)

GZA (The Genius) w/ Red 1 and guests
Tuesday March 24 2009
Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC

An above average Tuesday brought legendary lyricist The GZA to a crowd of mellow hip hop heads at the Commodore Ballroom. His on-point and thought provoking lyricism on striking beats is the reason this MC is called the Genius. [read more]

(Photo – Amalia Nickel)

Live Review: Killawatt Records Release Party feat. Red-1, Plazma Crew, Heatwave, Lamar Ashe w/ guests
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The Hennessey Lounge, Vancouver BC

Thursday night saw the launch of HeatWave’s The Masses Volume 1 mixtape as well as Touch Thursdays, a new hip-hop night at the Hennessey Lounge.  And if there’s one thing that Killawatt -the label owned and operated by Red 1 of The Rascalz – proved, it’s that it knows how to throw a party.  From the quality hip-hop to the red shots sent out to all the ladies by Red 1, it was a classy affair. [read more]


(Photo- Scott Alexander |

Live Review: Kardinal Offishall with Shaun Boothe
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC

Kardinal’s latest album of collaborations did not necessarily translate well into a  live set, and though it was a little choppy,  there was still a fine dance party to be had at Kardinal Offishall’s “Tour Of Duty”  in support of his latest release “Not 4 Sale” (UMG).

Alongside Black Jays members Solitaire and Ro Ro Dolla, the Kardinal sang, danced and represented the Caribbean sounds of T-Dot. [read more]

(Photo – Amalia Nickel)

Live Review – J-Live w/ Groundbreakers and P-Butta
Monday,February 23, 2009
The Modern, Vancouver BC

The founder of Triple Threat Productions proved to be just that: the legendary J-Live rapped, DJed his own set, kept the crowd happy and made it all look effortless.

Vancouver’s own Groundbreakers opened; they are a creative ensemble of MCs, a beatboxer and a bassist.  Their beats tend to be organic and their style classic, accentuated by Babie Paul’s rhythmic rumblings about dead prime ministers.  The darker sounds of P-Butta of ILL-Legitimate followed, leading into the main act. [read more]

ABOVE : Joose and Talk-S.I.K of Plazma Crew

(Photo – Chris Webber|

Live Review – Black History Month Showcase
Friday, February 13, 2009
BSS, Vancouver, BC

Friday the thirteenth of February, Britannia Secondary School’s hundred year-old auditorium was host to the ancient rhythms and oral traditions of hip-hop.

As proof that there are rappers in Vancouver who care, Killawatt’s HeatWave and Plazma Crew shared the stage with Discreet Da Chosen 1 of Snake Eyes Crew to entertain and educate hundreds of enthusiastic teen-agers about Black History Month.  Hosted by Scruffmouth the Scribe, stories of injustice and resistance were told as DJ D-Rec’s pounding beats flooded the space. [read more]

By Amalia Nickel

Abort Magazine

(Photo – Chris Webber)

Live Review: MNL feat. Lifesavas w/ Cool Nutz, Emotionz, Greg B and East Side Magik
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Modern, Vancouver BC

As the snow gently stuck to the sidewalks, minds at The Modern were miles away, falling into the funky grooves of Lifesavas with Chief Xcel.  The Portland duo Vursatyl and Gumbo (aka Bumpy Johnson and Sleepy Floyd) were hard-pressed for audience participation – it took several tries to get the crowd to answer “hold on” with an adequate “wait a minute” – but this dampened neither their performance nor the spirits of the sparse crowd. [read more]

By Amalia Nickel

Coming Soon…Amalia interviews Jumbo and Vursatyl of the Lifesavas to talk about their new album, a new president and old friends.

ABOVE: Genetics | Photo-Amalia Nickel

Live Review: Monday Night Live’s “WOMEN IN HIP-HOP” Event
Monday, December 2, 2008
The Modern, Vancouver BCMonday Night seemed extra live this week with its “Women of Hip-Hop” show at The Modern in Gastown. Emotionz, who puts the Monday Night Live showcases together, admitted that this all-female show was in fact something he did with his “little sisters” The Genetics in mind. Even so, a wide range of hip-hop artists proved their skills and gave a uniquely feminine touch to a largely masculine genre. [read more]


By Amalia Nickel