Winnipeg's Hip Hop Community Takes the Spotlight

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CJ the Grey
Chris Bxnnxtt
Len Bowen

Manitoba Music Presents a Showcase at The Good Will on March 31 Featuring 3PEAT, Len Bowen, Chris Bxnnxtt, Wynrush, and CJ The Grey

Winnipeg’s hip hop community is in the spotlight this month. Five local acts are set to showcase at music hotspot The Good Will on March 31 followed by a roundtable discussion and networking mixer at Manitoba Music (1-376 Donald Street) on April 1.

Local showcasing acts hitting the stage include rap triumvirate 3PEAT, rhyme-driven emcee Len Bowen, high energy emcee Chris Bxnnxtt, soul/blues/dub reggae tinged hip hop artist Wynrush, and Studio 393 alum CJ The Grey. Each act has been building buzz with new material and packed shows.

3PEAT's Steve, E.GG and Dill The Giant form a triangle offence of rap styles and influences with high energy sets featuring sample driven beats with an updated sound. Their focus on developing a great live show has seen them play in hardcore shows, open for rap acts, and perform with live bands. In the past few months, the outfit released a self-titled debut EP and has played in front of large crowds at Festival du Voyageur, Rainbow Trout Music Festival, Dilla Day 2017, Wall-To-Wall Festival, SpaceLand 2, and a headlining NYE show at The Good Will.

Emcee Len Bowen is the fine line between hip hop’s golden age and the unknown territory in which this culture is now headed. Composing verses since junior high, rhyme to Bowen is like science and mathematics. His previous projects have landed in the number one spot on college radio charts and the spotlight on MuchMusic’s sought-after Rap City playlist. Bowen launched his latest project, The Going Away Party EP, in October and garnered rave reviews from national media along the way.

Young emcee Chris Bxnnxtt has been turning heads with his ability to capture an audience with his charisma and compositions. He began rapping at the age of 15 where he would cipher at school and house parties as a hobby. After a knee injury sidelined him from his football career, music became his number one priority. Bxnnxtt has garnered buzz opening for the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Ghostface Killah, and MGK, performing in over 150 shows and being active on the radio.

Artist, music workshop facilitator, and radio host Wynrush offers up hip hop with tinges of soul, blues and dub reggae. With two studio albums under his belt -- Guy, I'm From Here and Trinnipeg !78 – plus a live record So High from The Lo -- Wynrush’s music touches on family, loss, lust, and our ever going battles and is Manitoba in every heartbeat.

Up-and-coming rapper CJ The Grey has been turning heads with his live shows with Graffiti Art Programming's Studio 393 initiative, and has racked up a few thousand views for his videos on YouTube and is now part of the 4th Coast Records roster.

Manitoba Music will host a roundtable discussion at 1PM on April 1 for an open dialogue on the successes and challenges for the local hip hop community. FACTOR’s Project Coordinator for Sponsorships & Outreach, Taiwo Bah, will be making the trip from Toronto to bring a voice and perspective from federal music funders. The event is free and open to all those working in hip hop, including artists, promoters, producers, labels, videographers, graphic designers, DJs, and more. The discussion will be followed by a mixer, also at the Manitoba Music office.

The showcase and roundtable are the latest in Manitoba Music’s hip hop-focused projects. In December, Manitoba Music teamed up with Studio 393 for a special edition of New Music Night on featuring emerging young talent from Studio 393, rappers The O.B., TWIO, and J23. Studio 393 is a youth-led arts studio dedicated to connecting emerging artists with each other and with community organizations that will help them grow as individuals and artists in all areas of hip hop.

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