New York youngsters Ratking carried with them an astonishing amount of passion even before they began their set. MC Wiki was full of unfathomable rage while MC Hak had sorrow written all over him. It was an emotional set with contrasting lows of which were pulled back up with Sporting Life’s catchy beats. These were lessons that we had to be told about, and Ratking were there to tell us them all. In an interview with The Guarding, Ratking discussed how they felt as though their group was more of a punk one than a rap outfit, and it shows through their performance. On album, they are as hip hop as they come, even with the interesting samples and the impossible to ignore flows. Live, however, Wiki hops around furiously, even stopping on the stage whilst screaming verses into the microphone.
Introspective lyrics were being scattered all over Yonge Dundas Square, and here’s hoping that they hit the many passersby like they hit me. Out of all of the hip hop artists here at NXNE, Ratking felt as though they had the biggest story to tell. It doesn’t mean they were better than the other artists (although they were really quite admirable), but it does mean that they were the smoothest talkers. They may not have carried the same infectious charisma that some of the artists had, but they are Ratking: They don’t work that way. As an opening act leading into another, Ratking’s time with us, where we were sat down and talked to like the adults we are (albeit by a young group of prodigies), was special because it was an observation of both underground hip hop and pelting punk philosophies. If they were to headline, perhaps more variety (even some cool down time with some fun banter without spoiling the unity of the music) would suffice, but given the limited time they were on stage, Ratking gave a fairly intense show.