I hate to admit it but, unfortunately, I’ve never been a huge fan of hip hop or rap. Over the last couple years, though, I’ve learned to appreciate it and its part in the current music scene. I now count a few hip hop acts like Lushlife, The Coup, and Grand Analog among my favourites. I think it was De La Soul’s performance at Rifflandia 4 in 2011 that really sold me on hip hop in general.

I had no clue who De La Soul was when I heard they were headlining the final day of Rifflandia 4. All I knew was that they were rappers, and that was enough for me to not care. I made the decision to stick around and get a few photos. They were the last band of the festival so they must be okay.


I’d already shot my favourite band, Broken Social Scene, earlier in the festival, so everything else was just icing on the cake that is Rifflandia. Now, I look back fondly on the night De La Soul took the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it certainly changed my perspective on hip hop performers. Smiles never left the faces of the three members Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo as they moved around the stage more than any other band I’d seen the entire festival.


There was something to their energy that made me want to capture every second of it. My head bounced along with the beat and at one point I had my hands in the air just like the rest of the festivalgoers.

From that moment on I was hooked. Not only on De La Soul, but shooting hip hop and rap performances in general. The performances are certainly more fun than indie bands  at times. Guitars and scowls vs smiles and interaction. I will happily drop everything to shoot a hip hop concert these days.

In the past couple years I’ve had a chance to shoot De La Soul again at the Phillips Backyard Weekender, and it was even better than their Rifflandia performance. Especially the part when they told the photographers to put their cameras and throw up their arms.