Some of my greatest hip-hop memories came out of Lucky's Wings & Things (previously Passion's Lounge). During the day it ran as a restaurant and bar, but on some nights it converted to a spot where people could come out to dance, listen to hip-hop, reggae, and dancehall. They also had a professional recording studio in the basement of the restaurant which not everybody knew about. It was dope! It was run by N9ne and recording engineer Razah Sharp (DJ S-One) and was home to their independent label, Marvelous Music Label.
I was first introduced to the team at Lucky's in 2010 while out for a late-night walk on King Street. As I approached the venue all I could hear was music blasting and people vibing out front. I remember boldly (semi-awkwardly) walking up to a group of people and asking who ran the place. I explained to them that I was an independent rapper and wanted to perform there sometime.
Right away, they called for the owner who went by "Whyteboi" and introduced me to him. Haha, I'll never forget this moment, but out of nowhere these guys decided to put me to the test — all pleasantries aside — they asked if I could hop on stage and perform that very minute. Determined to prove my seriousness, I made a dash for my house, picked up my USB stick and made my way back to the venue. At this time, I had only performed a handful of times, so I was a little nervous but way more excited to show off my skills. It was like an 8 Mile moment. Maybe not as dramatic, but either way I was determined to kill it.
As soon as I was given the mic, I hit the stage in anticipation. There was a 10-second pause as I waited for the DJ to play my instrumental. I used that time to evaluate the crowd. The first thing I noticed was that everyone was older than me. I thought to myself, "Okay. I really gotta bring it." The audience was scarce and mostly scattered, but the thickness of the moment made me feel as if there were thousands in attendance.
When the instrumental started, I noticed some people looking towards the stage, but a majority of them appeared to be indifferent. They were more interested in what they were drinking. My goal, from the opening line, was to have them all take note of me by the time I was finished. Much of that performance was a blur, but the greatest moment for me was while spitting my first verse and seeing how they all gradually turned their heads before fixing their attention on me and my craft.
This one performance proved to be a huge milestone for me as I went on to become an official member of Marvelous Music, which provided me with the luxuries of being able to record whenever I wanted and access video equipment for my music videos. I was still in high school at the time and working at Tim Hortons, so this was like hitting the lottery for me.
In the first 3 months of us working together I was able to complete my debut mixtape entitled "The Most High" and even held my CD release party at Lucky's — it was a great experience. The album documented a significant change in my life and revolved around the theme of my near death/eye-opening experience. From there, I began to gain some notoriety in the city and began performing at different schools, events, parties, and open mics in the Tri-City area and beyond.
While most of my focus has been placed on my youth advocacy as of late, I credit that time of my life as being one of the most influential: not only to my music, but to my personal life and passions as well. Lucky's was a great spot for local artists to hone their skills in front of a crowd and showcase their game.
I have way too many memories to share about this place: from the unexpected rap battles, to attending Choclair's CD release party. But one thing I'm really grateful for was Lucky's ability to shine light on the underrated talent of KW.