What started out as a means to showcase local talent has grown into a decade-long celebration of Sault Ste. Marie’s hip hop scene. And tomorrow night (Friday, Aug. 11) at the Indian Friendship Centre on East Street, the Soo York City Urban Arts Collective invites area music lovers of all ages to join the festivities as it commemorates 10 years.
“At the time when I started it in 2007, there was not really anywhere that people that were interested in hip hop could go to experience it locally,” Soo York City founder Shane Erickson (AKA DJ Seith) told SooToday. “I got the idea in my head to start doing shows and then it was just a matter of finding people to perform.”
Erickson would make inquiries and cold-call random strangers to invite them to perform during his monthly showcases. Thankfully for him and the local hip hop community, he rarely got hung up on, he joked. A number of these artists have been involved with the collective since the beginning, including Mic Swiff, Killah Kai, Teddy, Conika, JFK and others.
“It’s very much like a family,” said Erickson. “Everyone keeps in contact with one another even if they’ve moved on.”
“(Soo York City) has never been really rallying around one person, it’s them rallying around each other,” said continued. “I’ve seen a lot of growth in a lot of artists in town. But also a lot of humility and humbleness, too, coming from these guys. They just want to perform, and be understood as a performer in town just like any other… There’s also a lot of openness to collaborating with other artists and playing with other bands. I’ve been really impressed with everyone involved in the collective and just how willing they are to work together.”
Friday night’s Soo York City 10th anniversary celebration will be a continuation in the tradition of the original shows, said Erickson. The day begins with a family-friendly all-ages outdoor show (weather permitting) from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Indian Friendship Centre parking lot. Following this, the show will move indoors for evening performances until 10 p.m. The later portion of the celebration is still all-ages, but the performances may include some adult content. Performers include DJ Seith, Planet Rock, Kodex, Universal Language, Rick E, FVCK SX^VD, and some surprise guests.
This Soo York City showcase is presented in collaboration with Fringe North and Youth Odena. Admission to the family portion is free. Admission to the evening showcase is by donation.