Head to the NAC for a Hit of Hip Hop

Photos by Kim Villagante

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Head to the NAC for a hit of hip hop and theatre.

At first glance to anyone not familiar with it, hip hop music might just seem like some pretty bad ass music peppered with expletives and derogatory terms. That would be completely dismissing the brand of music that is actually a whole social movement and medium of expression of protest for social injustice and race relations and other inequalities. It is a complex type of music. 

The play currently on at the NAC, The Lamentable Tragedy of Sal Capone (by Omari Newton) follows the tale of the hip hop band Sal Capone. The band, made of up of three musicians and a manager are getting ready for an album release when one of the members, the DJ, is shot by the police.  (This is based on the true 2008 incident, where a young person of colour in Montreal, Fredy Villanueva, was shot and killed by police when he did nothing wrong.)

The ensuing conversations between the other members of the band delve into all sorts of social issues:  poverty, race relations, homophobia and misogyny.  There is always good with the bad and the last two elements are often reflected in hip hop music.

The story teller in the play is a lady of the streets, Mama, a gay cross-dressing prostitute.  She tells it all like it is.

The play culminates in the album launch, which is something the band debates should even occur after the shooting of their friend and tragedy strikes again. 

It is a powerful play, that brilliantly shows how there are many sides to stories.  There is a lot going on and it all makes you stop and think about privilege, social inequality and how misconceptions can create chaos. The music is phenomenal and the rapping in the play is incredible.  Kim Villagante and Tristan D Lalla are riveting as they “spit their rhymes.”   

The show runs until tomorrow, April 21.