While Toronto isn't set on giving up its title of Canada's hip-hop hotbed any time soon, Saskatoon's DGS Samurai Champs made a strong case for the early crowd of locals to look farther than their own backyard when it comes to what Canadian hip-hop has to offer.
In opening the evening to around a crowd of 20 people, the mic-wielding duo of MC Jeah (Savan Muth) and R&B-leaning vocalist Merv xx Gotti (Marvin Chan) relished every second of their stage time. Despite their different roles in the project, the chemistry between the two was apparent in watching them shift from Mutch's sharp delivery and Chan's rich, emotive singing, rarely intruding on each other's vocals as a more traditional MC/hype man combination might.
They were both a treat to watch on their own as well. Muth spent much of his time pacing the stage in gesturing his way through each bar, hopping to the floor to engage the audience later on in the set. It was a wonder that Chan held his pitch considering his own set of stage moves, which involved flailing about with a mic stand and some well-executed mic tosses, never once missing a catch after spinning it by its cord.
Members of DGS's Trifecta collective got the crowd involved on some call-and-response for "Crayons" before Muth led them in waving side-to-side for a '90s-influenced jam to close things out.