Bustin’ a Rhyme

Five rappers reveal their ultimate karaoke jam


SMIF-N-WESSUN, DJ NUMERIC, DJ DALIA and TED DANCIN’ as part of HIP-HOP KARAOKE COMPETITION FINALS at Revival (783 College), Friday (September 19), 10 pm. $15 advance. hhktoronto.com


On the third Friday of every month for almost eight years, rap enthusiasts have honed their skills on the mic at Hip-Hop Karaoke.

And as it has for five years straight, the ultimate showdown caps off the summer. Last month’s semi-finals narrowed the field to 10 emcees, who face off Friday at the event’s usual haunt, Revival.

It’s not just amateur hour, though. Brooklyn duo Smif-N-Wessun (aka Tek and Steele) have come north to judge and perform, too.

In anticipation of the event, we asked five rappers to tell us about their ultimate karaoke jam. Some of them couldn’t pick just one.

Tek, Smif-N-Wessun

Road To The Riches, Streets Of New York and On The Run, by Kool G Rap and Children’s Story, The Moment I Feared and La Di Da Di, by Slick Rick

“Damn, yo. There’s no easy or wrong answer for this question. I say that because I am a fan of hip-hop and there are so many super-dope artists and songs that I would enjoy performing or seeing performed at karaoke – imitating their movements and all. But long and short, I’m gonna have to give up to two of my favourite emcees, being Kool G Rap & Slick Rick.”

Maestro Fresh Wes

DWYCK, by Gang Starr feat. Nice & Smooth

“I like the way he says ‘Classius Clay’ instead of ‘Cassius Clay.’ That’s hip-hop hip-hop’s not perfect. And it’s just a dope track to sing.”

Shad

Flava In Your Ear (Remix), by Craig Mack feat. Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Rampage

“It would have to be a group track, since I never get to enjoy bouncing off other emcees onstage. I’ll go with Crooklyn Dodgers or Ante Up… or Flava In Ya Ear (Remix) if I get to do Busta’s verse.” [Yes, Shad, you do.]

Shad plays the Polaris Music Prize gala at the Carlu on Monday (September 22) and Massey Hall on March 27, 2015.

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Saukrates

Juicy, by Notorious B.I.G.

“Even though this song ushered in the ‘jiggy era,’ it was one of the best stories told in hip-hop: went from ashy to classy! Plus, everybody in the joint sings along because of its undeniable wit and simplicity.”

Saukrates plays Live At The Square at Yonge-Dundas Square as part of Manifesto, Saturday (September 20).

Tasha the Amazon

Ready Or Not, by the Fugees

“Every verse is stylistically so different, so you can show off a bunch of different styles, and then the whole building would sing along with you on the hook, cuz it’s epic.”

Listen to everyone’s picks below:

julial@nowtoronto.com | @julialeconte

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