We could certainly talk about The Demon’s (aka Anthony Haley) latest release ...and If You Tell Anyone... but the graphic artist and emcee is more stoked about galvanizing the local hip hop community at large rather than simply promote his own endeavors (which reportedly include an upcoming mocumentary video in the vein of Spinal Tap using the same name as his last collection of songs). Haley was part of a impassioned group of influencers that were hoping to support and build the hip hop community with an event dubbed Steel Gold a few years ago. While Steel Gold had a successful run at a few different venues for four years, the last couple of years saw less activity and less community in Hamilton hip hop at least from Haley’s perspective. As a result, Haley is taking that original vision from back in the day and creating a new regular event dubbed Open Season with the inaugral edition happening this Friday.
“Hosted by myself and Nate Powers, the former Steel Gold hosts, you can think of this as Steel Gold 2.0 actually,” says Haley. “I’m trying to bring back that vibe: peace, love, unity, having fun — what it is to represent hip hop and that kind of community spirit. We’re holding it every three months at the end of the month with the idea that people will want to do shows in between these kind of events. People have been talking about what we had done with Steel Gold and doing another show so I figured it was time and it had to happen. The feeling is ripe in the air for hip hop in Hamilton again.
“We’ve got to break a lot of stereotypes and show that hip hop is totally a thing that welcomes everybody with these kind of open mic shows,” adds Haley. “I want it to be more than just coming in for a performance — it’s a networking thing to rebuild the community like Steel Gold brought us together in a bigger way than it had ever been before. I remember saying how that event felt like church to me and I think these events can have the same effect.”
Enlisting some veterans for special showcases including Stealth Elementz, Hachey the MouthPEACE and Rel McCoy, Open Season is meant for any level of performer and any kind of fan of hip hop. Haley confirms Open Season is open to anyone that wants to be a part of the community and network with more like minded individuals.
“I’m excited to see Stealth comeback for a feature for us and he’s got a new track after a bit of a hiatus, of course people will remember him as one of the main forces in the Hamilton Hi–Cats,” says Haley. “Hachey started doing beatbox around the same time I started to rap but obviously he took it a heck of a lot farther than I did but when I mentioned the show to him, Hachey was immediately on board. We’re blessed to have Rel McCoy come out as well — he’s worked with a lot of bigger names and made a mark on the underground scene as an emcee and producer so he’s coming out to do some beats for us but I except that he’ll take the mic as well.
“We’re doing this like the old school cyphers with DJ Kryme Won and Jimmi Rigg providing beats for us starting right at 10pm and me and Nate will start the cypher off but when you got the feeling and want to spit some rhymes, you grab that mic and get on, showcase what you got,” adds Haley. “We welcome beginners but we’ve got word of a lot of veterans from Everyday People — maybe some Lee Reed coming out as well. We’re going to have a lot of the hip hop community coming out that night. It’s absolutely going to be fun with some great performances but I want to get that community networking. Some of the people I approached weren’t able to make it but anyone and everyone should come out. This is an inclusive event and being part of a community — that’s what we aspire to. I want to see everyone come out that’s been sitting in their basement just waiting for an event like this.”
Open Season Hip Hop Open Mic happens Friday February 28 at Shaolin (229 James St N) with Stealth Elementz, Hachey the MouthPEACE Rel McCoy, DJ Kryme Won, Jimmi Rigg and hosted by Nate Powers and Anthony Haley. Doors open at 9pm and there is no cover.
Click on https://www.facebook.com/events/2501365940106493/