Ladybug Mecca / Masia One / Tara Chase El Mocambo, Toronto ON - December 18

Ladybug Mecca performed in Toronto at the El Mocambo on Saturday December 18 a decade after the release of her last recorded album, Blowout Comb, with her former group, Digable Planets. This show, organised by Masia One's M1 Academy and the CyberKrib, however was an all-female affair. Tara Chase, Masia One, DJ Si Vu Play, and local b-girls all rocked the house before Ladybug hit the stage. Their performances established a carefree atmosphere for the evening of hip-hop. Tara Chase started her set by letting the crowd know she had finished her last exam hours before and that she was ready to throw down. Clearly having a ball on stage, she had her audience rapping along with her by the end of her set. Masia One was next. In true grassroots fashion, she switched roles from promoter of the night to performer. On stage, backed by her live band Ultra Magnus, she performed album cuts and brand new material. Effortlessly in-synch with her band, she had enough control of the crowd to introduce new MCs Kon Artist and I. James Jones without missing a beat. The old to new phenomenon came into effect when Ladybug Mecca hit the stage. The El Mocambo was near capacity with fans of her old music eager to hear her new material. Ladybug is not the same jazz-hip-hop artist of the early '90s, but her vocals are still distinctly airy and clear. She hasn't stopped rhyming since you last heard her and she has grown into an artist who performs more than raps. Her set, with DJ Mensa, was of all new material, ranging from Digable-esque hip-hop to samba- and rock-influenced songs. The guitar-heavy chorus on "Don't Disturb the Peace" caught the crowd off guard but they stayed with her throughout her performance. Her mother was a Brazilian jazz singer and Ladybug sang for half of her set. The crowd was willing to accept whatever she offered, singing or rapping, like her song "Children Say," about her four children. It was a good hip-hop show. Look out for her upcoming solo album.