Photographs by Tobias Wang.
The pop-up Vans skatepark/music venue showed up in Toronto as a celebratory hub for Vans’ 50th anniversary of being at the forefront of not only freestyle boarding and biking but also the cultures that surround it. The street art influenced atmosphere of the warehouse turned venue attests to the knowledge and impact of the culture that Vans has been a part of for so many years so, it was only fitting that The House of Vans had their closing party revolve around one of what can be said is the biggest cultural movements in 50 years: Hip Hop. The artists showcased all displayed their own unique version of the ever growing culture. From the new sounds of bass heavy R&B, to the hard hitting beats of trap and southern hip hop, and ending on the classic flows of a legendary hip hop MC.
As the early comers slowly poured in, Toronto native Bambii started the room off with some sultry house tunes. The crowd would slowly gravitate from the bar and lounge area towards her soulful sounds as the room got fuller and her set progressed. She mixed in some classic R&B vocals over the head bobbing beats like Disclosure’s When a Fire Starts to Burn and eventually transitioned into a chopped version of Aaliyah’s unforgettable classic, Are You That Somebody before switching it up and unleashing 90’s baby making classic Pony by Genuine. Overall, her sound was very soulful, as mentioned before, incorporating many popular sounds such as jersey club, grime & house and adds some international & classic flavour by stirring in some jazz, breakbeat & salsa for good measure.
Tommy Kruise kept the party going by turning up the energy with some Southern Rap, Trap and Jersey Club. The dancefloor really started to fill up when the Quebecois DJ took the stage. It was his first show after being out of commission from being injured and The House of Vans showed him nothing but love.
It was unreal to see Hip-Hop legend Kool Keith take the stage in his signature sunglasses and beanie combo. The Bronx native preformed many classic hits like Sex Style, Poppa Large and Freaks. He would also preform freestyles over Drake’s 0 to 100 and Tupac’s All Eyez on Me to name a few. At the end of the night, Kool Keith’s DJ would play some classic hip-hop from Biggie, Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan and others until the lights came on. The Atmosphere of the show in relation to the venue was very much reminiscent to a warehouse party, which it was exactly that. There were people mingling and hanging out, b-boy circles had formed around various edges of the crowd, people were watching the history of Vans’ seen through the evolution of skateboarding, Surfing and BMX biking over a drink. There is no doubt that Vans knows how to throw a party like there’s no doubt that Vans will continue to be a part of the world’s culture for many years to come.