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X-Plycit and Mackie are on the come-up 

Local rappers merge life and art with their first co-headlining tour.

click to enlarge X-Plycit (left) and Mackie prepare to get lit. - DYLAN CHEW
  • X-Plycit (left) and Mackie prepare to get lit.

X-Plycit & Mackie 902 Lit Tour w/Stack Loot Divide, Kam Speech, Scence, The UnderDogs, Connor Moore, J-Pimpin, CHELL, Devon Paul Muzik
Thursday, June 28, 8pm
Menz & Mollyz, 2182 Gottingen Street

Halifax is going to be lit when rappers X-Plycit and Mackie take to the stage at Menz and Mollyz tonight, giving the city a rare female-led hip hop show. Hailing from North Sydney and Pictou County, they're on the come-up in the Canadian rap scene and releasing new albums later this year, but still making time to show hometown love on the 902 Lit Tour.

Rapping for just over three years respectively, Shannon Powless (AKA X-Plycit) and Jordan Mackie (AKA Mackie) have come a long way in a short time. Powless, who never considered herself a rapper, grew up in Cape Breton writing poetry as a way to express herself; Mackie began writing music in her teen years in Westville. Encouraged by their friends in the hip hop scene, they started dropping rhymes which soon earned local acclaim and led to them being booked for a show circa 2015. Unbeknownst to each other at the time, the two met backstage, and the rest is history.

"When someone offered me a show in Halifax, I got so excited because I saw there were two other girls, Mackie and J-Pimpin, that were performing," says Powless. "I was a bundle of nerves, but from the first day I met Mackie we just clicked—we've been through the entire journey together."

"We're like sisters, and not the dysfunctional kind," says Powless. "We have our normal issues, but we know we aren't walking away from each other, so if there's anything we don't agree on we take our 24 hours to calm down and then talk about it. We're the perfect balance—we work."

"It's really important to find people you can work well with and complement each other," says Mackie. "In one area where someone might be weak, it's the other person's strength."

Supporting each other through events like Evolve and Future Forest, and racking up more than 100,000 views for their videos online, the couple's skills on the mic are quickly being recognized nationally. Last year saw the release of Powless' second album Underrated and Mackie's debut No Joke which caught the attention of underground Canadian rappers Evil Ebenezer and Stacee Brizzle, leading them to pursue the Toronto rap scene. They lived there for six months. "It really helped us to grow as artists and learn how to be better performers and engage the crowd," says Powless. "It's a tougher crowd in Ontario."

Now home, they're working on taking their new and improved skills to the next level with upcoming projects they say sound "fun" and feature catchier hooks compared to previous albums. Luckily for the fans, they'll be releasing singles during their current tour sponsored by 902 Lit Clothing Co. which will span the province. "We're pretty pro-Scotian and we like the 902 Lit Clothing Co. and what it stands for because they are what we are—100 percent Scotian," says Powless. "It's a movement."

Ultimately, the duo hopes to give back to the community that has supported them so much while celebrating their success and what's to come. "We just hope everyone enjoys it. It feels surreal looking at where we are now because this is where we wanted to be," says Mackie. "I know we have so much further to go, but it feels like we've already made it although we're obviously not at Drake-level or anything yet—but we're working towards it."

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