Koriass + Fouki + Zach Zoya @ Mtelus – September 29th 2018

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When it comes to rap, in general, many people have biased opinions about the singers and the lyrics to their songs (I have been one of those people), Many people don’t see the talent behind the music and when it comes to Quebecois rap, they don’t get a break from the judgement either. Koriass has been rapping for fourteen years and was releasing his fifth album for a sold-out Mtelus show tonight.

Having won awards and been on nominee lists like the Junos for French music, Koriass has been winning hearts of Quebecers across the province and country. Koriass has been a name that has been going around since I was in high school. I thought why not actually discover who this Koriass is and help my fellow Quebecers discover him too.

Having been to the Mtelus only once when it was Metropolis, I couldn’t remember what the venue looked like and was kinda excited to see a show at a (somewhat) new venue for me. Deciding to go sit upstairs at the balcony and seeing the sea of people already gathered at the stage I did not regret my decision. Other than the music playing, I could not tell I was at a rap show based on whatever people were wearing. With the music blaring and fans already getting pumped up, singing along to the songs and throwing their arms up and down, the ambience was totally killing it. The stage read ‘7ieme Ciel Records’ which is the label that releases Koriass’ music and the two other musical guests this evening.

With a perfectly timed 9 o’clock show (don’t you love it when that happens?), Zach Zoya took the stage as the already pumped up crowd started to sing along and jump up and down. Being upstairs on the balcony it wasn’t hard to get swept up in the energy and just because we weren’t standing didn’t mean we couldn’t follow along with the crowd downstairs. When Zach told us to get lower, we got lower. When he told the crowd to jump higher, everyone obeyed. I was already starting to regret not being down on the floor with everyone but it didn’t stop everyone on the balcony following along to the arm movements which moved perfectly together to the melody like seaweed moves to the movement of the waves.

Going into the show with an open mind, something happened that I am not sure was out of the ordinary for a rap show or if we think this only happens at heavier shows, but a freaking moshpit started! A small one…but still! I was amazed, shocked, excited, all at once. That was definitely unexpected to me. It just goes to show me how little I know about rap and how I am glad I picked this show to discover it.

Next up on stage was Quebec’s newest rap sensation Fouki. With only one album out, he was no stranger to the stage. Having released his album earlier this year, you could hear
the crowd singing along to every word. Fouki’s songs are bilingual, catchy, and I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face and I was having a great time. When people talk about a show being ‘lit’, this is definitely what they are talking about. As Fouki’s set ended, the now traditional way to end a show is to take a picture with the crowd in the background. He made everyone take out their phones to make some light because ‘On est en 2018 coline’ which translates to ‘we’re in 2018 darn it’. This is the moment I also learned that rappers don’t always swear!

It didn’t take long for the crowd to want to have Koriass on stage as soon as possible as everyone started to chant “Kori! Kori!”, the crowd stayed pumped, kept dancing and singing along to
the music in the overhead speakers.

Koriass is someone who likes to do things differently from other rappers, and it was very visible before he even got on stage. Although there was the usual DJ with a laptop in the background, there were also 3 violinists, a keyboard, a drum kit and a guitar player, all ready to welcome Koriass to the stage.

With a cross of lights and smoke, Koriass appeared on stage and the crowd went wild.

It wasn’t long before a fan came up to him at the stage with something to sign which he did it without hesitation. It warms my heart to see how close he is to his fans, which he showed all through the show, coming down from the stage and even letting a few lucky fans sing into the mic (and who totally killed it!). Being there was eye opening on the rap culture and I enjoyed every moment and felt bad for not knowing any words to the songs because I really wanted to sing along with everyone. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the moment and enjoying hearing the crowd sing along. “there is a lot of love here tonight, it feels good. My fans are my day 1s, the ones who have been there like my family”. He then proceeded to speak about life, friends, and judgement from others and put up on the big screen some screenshots of online hate he received and proceeded to comment on them ( I then learned that rappers are also funny). At that moment Fouki arrived on stage on a scooter and sang along with Koriass. It was a memorable night and I wish I would have discovered this side of music sooner but I am glad I finally did. The atmosphere, the rappers, the crowd, it was an evening of letting go of judgement and enjoying music for what it is.

Review – Jenny Watson

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