LXVNDR at Hopscotch Festival
Grand Parade, Fri Sep 24, 6-10pm, free
When Kathleen Moon arrives at a north end cafe earlier this week—in sneakers that match her oversized blazer and a perfect manicure that sets off both—she’s all smiles and calm energy, sipping a lavender tea in an oversized china cup. The choice of beverage feels at once natural and maybe a bit self-aware: Moon raps under the name LXVNDR, one of the city’s most exciting new voices in hip hop, blending a SZA-like singing voice with golden-era bars that bring ScHoolboy Q to mind.
“I used to be Story Shakur and I was Princess Cheech for a while, and then Dat Kidd Rosa,” she explains between sips. “Then, one day, I was doing this really detailed quiz you can do to see what kind of aura colours you have. I ended up getting magenta—and also lavender.” A love of plants and quest for healing meant it was the perfect moniker for a new sonic era. “It called to me instead of me choosing it.”
Moon grew up and found music in PEI, first singing at family functions at her grandpa’s behest. “He was a big part in my music influences,” she says. “If it hadn’t’ve been for him, I wouldn’t’ve had the confidence to do that.” Later, after a steady diet of metal, punk and hip hop shaped her sound, she graduated from rapping at house parties to guesting in the studio as other Island MCs Vince The Messenger and DJ Nemo “really put me on,” helping her get her start. When she takes the stage this Friday night for Hopscotch Festival, she’ll be reunited with the duo for the first time since her relocation to Halifax—something that’ll make an already-anticipated set even more special.
Already on the radar of national music publications, newly signed to Halifax’s Black Buffalo Records and armed with a three-album catalogue (including the recently released Moonwater, a collab with
Moon’s final evolution as the genre-blending, hook-murdering LXVNDR is a perfect fit in the rich tradition of women-led innovation in hip hop, a path that’s been unfurling ever since Roxanne Shanté broke on the radio. Where LXVNDR will light it up the most, perhaps, is in the reminder that mood and music are at their most compelling when they clash and challenge.
“I love dark things; I love the darkness of life. So a lot of my music is extremely dark and I feel that’s where the metal aspect comes out, because most of the stuff I do write and rap about, is kind of goth,” she says, holding her drained teacup. “A lot of the beats I rap over sound happy, but if you actually listen to what I’m saying, it’s dark and can sometimes be a bit demented.”