There’s something special happening in Ottawa right now and everyone can feel it. It seems as if every day there is something new to be excited about. If you don’t know, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, and many like to think of it as a black and white, stiff backed, no fun having city.
At 30,000 feet, it’s easy to make that assumption. However, underneath the surface of the city lies one of the most exciting underground art scenes. The talent pool is teeming with artistic monsters ready for their chance to take over the game. This collective energy is something to behold. It has an indescribable ‘je ne sais quoi’ to it; when you’re in a room with this city’s artists, you feel it in your bones.
This hasn’t always been the case for Ottawa’s hip-hop scene. The city has bred some fine Canadian talent such as XO artist Belly, and hometown hero Night Lovell. Both of whom have taken their talents to incredible heights. It is worth noting that I didn’t know Belly was an Ottawa artist, as I believed he was a Toronto mans signed to a Toronto label and he reps the 416 more than the 613. In Night Lovell’s case, he’s taken the reserved route but his love for the city is undeniable, made evident through collaborations with local artists. But his introverted nature makes him being from Canada’s capital more of a component to his mystique than anything else.
Let’s bring it down to ground level again. Remember that rumble beneath the surface I was talking about? It is real and it is very much alive right now in Ottawa. And without question, one of the people on the front lines, leading the artistic charge from the capital, is none other than City Fidelia.
If you are unfamiliar with the name City Fidelia, do your Googles. For many, City is a beacon in the industry within Ottawa, as his name is synonymous with the burgeoning hip hop culture here.
This was made abundantly clear this past March 11th. City Fidelia is not just a recording artist, he has become a mogul in Ottawa. The wisdom he carries is cherished and celebrated deeply within the city. This is why on March 11th the scene showed up and showed out for City Fidelia at his very own birthday celebration.
The Real House of Ensemble played host to an incredibly special and incredibly exclusive evening of madness. It started with a listening party, hosted by multi-platinum-selling producer Pitt Tha Kid as he ran through his new album titled, ‘The Audition.' After a brief Q&A with one of my favourite artists from the city, Bobby Brugal, he dove into his first track. The only problem with the listening party is that it was incredibly confidential, so I’m not quite sure how much I can divulge. So, if you came here for spoilers or leaks, you’re in the wrong place.
After the album was played through, the back room of Real House of Ensemble Studios was opened to a selection of the city’s talent that will surely become household names in the years to come. Jeff Sanon, Blaowry, Deflare, J Burna and Macmuwsa took turns in a one and done showcase of their finest beats. Friendly competition was in the air as the five producers smiled and enthusiastically nodded along as they went at each other’s throats in a most affectionate way. This battle was followed by rising star Lia Kloud playing an unreleased track that obviously went hard, because, well, it’s Lia f*cking Kloud. The session was played out by a myriad of tracks from Freddy Printz and Bobby Brugal to name a couple.
Moral of the story, Ottawa did their fucking thing. The showdown was concluded when City Fidelia hopped on the mic to congratulate the city on showing up.
“This is what building a culture looks like,” he said. And he is absolutely right. The grassroots element to the Ottawa art scene is a special thing. It is being perpetuated each day by the city’s greats, making ways for the next to come.
It was not an accident that these artists were all in that room to hear inspiring young talent as well as duke it out. These are artists that you can bet on, and that is exactly what City Fidelia is doing: betting on his city.
As the listening party ended, a new party was quickly taking shape in the foyer of the studio. A bar had been erected and DJ Polo played heaters until the early hours of the morning. The city’s art scene was all in one room on the same wavelength, creating a culture that will live on if we keep it up. I’m not gonna write too much more about it honestly, I’m just going to let y’all watch:
But before I go, there is a true feeling of a torch being passed whenever City Fidelia is in the room. Whether it is exposing the city’s young talent to new realities or turning his birthday into a selfless celebration of the city, it is undeniable that he is an architect of the exciting new culture emerging in the cold capital. Shout out to City Fidelia.
Written by: John Balser