The buzz is in the air. After a successful virtual event in 2020, the Cranium Festival 2021 is here with an in-person event and the line up is crazy. Featuring some of Canada’s top hip-hop and R&B artists, the festival will be taking over some of the capital’s leading downtown venues from October 1-3. While the Friday, show is almost sold out, there are still tickets available for the weekend shows.
Here are my picks for the must-see shows from each day at Cranium Festival 2021.
Eazy Finesse has been putting in work in 2021, releasing a new music video for “Swervin'”, as well as her single “Take It To The Streets” and her track “Realer” alongside Baëbe Ruth. She even took a trip to the U.S. this year, visiting a couple of cities. In previous years, it felt like she was holding back a bit, but this year she hit her stride. This is going to be a high energy performance. It’s definitely a must-see.
We’ve seen Mélissa Vales perform live quite a few times and it never gets old. She’s very serious and detail-oriented about her live performances. We’re guaranteed to get a lot of dancing and choreography from the now Toronto-based artist. Every time you see her perform you feel like you’re witnessing a star in the making.
Lindasson is one of the hardest working artists in Ottawa. He spent the first half of 2021 dropping a flurry of singles and music videos, as well as his self-titled debut album. He gained national attention after being featured in CBC Music’s Beyond The 6ix, a digital series which features leading hip-hop talent from outside of the Toronto area. More recently he’s been in L.A. making music and networking. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from him so we can’t wait to see him perform live.
Nate Husser, arguably Montreal’s hottest rapper right now, is definitely a must-see at Cranium 2021. His flows are impeccable and he has swag for days. He’s been on our radar since being crowned our September 2020 Artist of the Month so we can’t wait to see him on stage. He rose to fame with Jake Paul celebrated his win over Ben Askren late last year to Husser’s track “Iced Out Baby G” and even announced he’d be remixing the song. His star is on the rise, so you might as well see him perform live before he blows up.
I hate to play favourites, but Hueso is one of my personal favourites. He’s one of the hardest working artists in the capital and has the quality music to match. He has the sound, but also the look and persona that separates the stars from the artists. His recent single “Misfits” landed him on the Northern Bars playlist so obviously the industry is watching. His performances are always high energy so this is definitely a performance to watch.
We recently had the chance to see Liyah perform at Manifesto in Toronto and we have to say her onstage presence is amazing. Hailing from my home town, Mississauga, Ontario, she really is a star in the making. She can sing. She can dance. She can do it all. SHIFTER’s Jhamesha Milord Ashford interviewed her ahead of her performance at Manifesto, so check it out for a glimpse at what you can expect.
Lonelyboy has been putting in work this year. Whereas in previous years he moved in the shadows, this year he’s been out and about in the city. Despite the pandemic, he’s been one of the more visible artists in the city. If you follow him on Instagram, you’ll know he’s been dropping covers of some of your favourite tracks. His voice is elite and he’s one of the few artists who could outperform some legendary artists on their own track. If you love smooth and sensual R&B/Soul vocals, make sure to check out Lonelyboy on October 2.
Easily one of Ottawa’s most talented artists, Jeff Sanon is an absolute must-see. I’ve never seen the triple threat rapper, singer, and producer perform live so this is one that I’m personally very excited about. He’s another artist who can do it all; he can give you club bangers that will make you wanna dance and R&B vibes that will make you wanna make love to the person in your life (or the person next to you, so watch out).
Charmaine is another artist that we had the chance to see perform live at Manifesto and she’s a vibe unto herself. She has a lot of energy and her energy is contagious. With songs like “WOO!” and “She’ll leave you feeling like the baddest b#%*! or that n*#!%*. Hopefully we’ll see her and Haviah Mighty perform their track “We Don’t Care”.
Speaking of Haviah Mighty, she’s the best live performer on this list. Hands down. No contest. She can sing, dance and rap, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she can spin on her head. We’ve seen her perform before at House of Paint and the Origin Kitchen Concerts and she delivers every single time. She’s one of Canada’s best performers, period. She’s a real MC that knows how to interact with and move the crowd. The must-see of all must-sees at Cranium 2021.