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Good and plenty 

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick hip-hop artists join the Good Times Tour, starting in Halifax this week. Johnston Farrow gets the lowdown.

All anyone hears in the hip-hop scene lately is how much success Nova Scotia has had exporting artists to the rest of the country. Now Nova Scotian hip-hop fans get a chance to see what their neighbours to the west have to offer when the Good Times Tour kicks off at the Seahorse in Halifax on January 10.

The four-date club show features DJ IV—recently voted Music Nova Scotia DJ of the Year—along with a slew of New Brunswick artists, including DJs Loc Dog, STV and Baby Grand with MC Mickey D. Along with Tacktishion, IV (AKA Brian Pelrine) is host of Lifted Wednesdays, the weekly hip-hop series at the Seahorse. The weekly served as a launching pad for the tour.

“We have locals and out-of-towners sometimes,” Pelrine says, recovering after a rocking New Year’s show. “We got the New Brunswick boys coming down and I haven’t been to New Brunswick in a while. I’ve been meaning to go up for a while, so I pulled some strings when they were coming down, whether they have any rooms. They said yeah, so I was like, let’s make a little tour out of it, you know?”

Pelrine met most of the performers on the DJ battle scene. Loc Dog plays the hip-hop group First Words alongside Halifax standout DJ JoRun, as well as New Brunswick performers Sean One and Above. Loc Dog also has the distinction of being the first DJ to ever compete in the acclaimed DMC Championships, the event that brings the best turntablists together to compete against one another.

“He has local compilations with cats up there called 40s and 9s,” Pelrine says. “He’s pretty much the dude that’s holding down the New Brunswick MCs. I always have a good time when I’m playing with him.”

STV is one of the most well known DJs on the New Brunswick circuit. He performs with the group Illlogic and hosts Strictly Hip-Hop, one of the longest running campus radio shows in Atlantic Canada. Out of Fredericton, it’s been on the air since the early ’90s. Baby Grand is also a well-known DJ in the New Brunswick scene and Mickey D is a rapper originally from the Digby area.

“Personally, I got a lot of new West Coast Hyphy records that I’m looking to get out and play,” Loc Dog (AKA Thomas Seamans) says from his home in Fredericton. “I know IV is working on his stuff. STV is bringing some old school beats. Baby Grand should be throwing it down early with the smooth stuff. It should be a kind of different rap styles on the beats and everything, which should make it interesting.”

“We’ll have something to keep the beatnuts’ heads nodding, but we’re also going to keep the ladies jamming too,” Pelrine adds. “We got the new stuff, the club jams, the old school, reggae and R&B. It’s whatever it takes us, you know what I mean? We just let the dance floor decide where we’re going.”

Not only will the tour be a chance to hear a mish-mash of eclectic hip-hop styles, but it’s also a good opportunity to hear some of the more established producers and turntablists in the area who have been at work on new material. IV is set to deliver the goods on the upcoming solo release from Tacktishion of Universal Soul. Loc Dog recently produced tracks on several releases for New Brunswick artists, including fellow First Words crew members Sean One and Above. And Mickey D will be playing a set of his latest solo material.

Although the Atlantic hip-hop scene is relatively small compared to others across the country and each performer offers his own unique style, there is more crossover between the two provinces than exists in most other places in Canada. The Nova Scotia and New Brunswick connection is more a meeting of the minds than a battle for a respect that’s already there.

“We’ve had guys go over and win the DJ Olympics, like Phakt,” Seamans says. “The best part about it is the mixing of the styles and you really get a lot of good music that results from different producers and emcees. That’s why I like DJing with IV—we seem to play tunes and styles that fit well together. It’s a pretty small scene, so it’s good to get everyone together.”

The Good Times Tour, January 10 at The Seahorse, 1659 Argyle, 10pm.

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