KINGsCOLLEGE Albert Island, Ottawa ON, August 22

KINGsCOLLEGE Albert Island, Ottawa ON, August 22
Photo: Calum Slingerland
The lone hip-hop act in Arboretum Festival's entire lineup, it might have been that the crowd wasn't well-prepared for what KINGsCOLLEGE would bring to the stage after three straight days of hearing everything but. However, the duo of Henchman Frank and G'Saint had little live chemistry in delivering rhymes over hazy, bass-heavy instrumentals, with their onstage execution being nothing short of disjointed.

Opening the set by flipping from slower material to banging beats with little to no warning got middling reaction outside of a few head nods and smatterings of applause from the audience inside the warehouse, the feeling of exasperation clearly visible on Frank's face. In a move that saved the set from sinking any lower, the two stepped back at the midway point of their set to hand the mics over to another pair of fellow local MCs, Yusso and Mo Illz. The pair of special guests commanded the crowd's attention in a way their hosts couldn't, demonstrating a more active stage presence in getting the room engaged in call-and-response hooks. 

Preparing to build on the rejuvenated mood of the audience, Frank and G'Saint had their set abruptly cut off, leaving the stage after some short thanks. A good deal of gelling is in order should they wish to rise higher in Ottawa's hip-hop hierarchy.