a, Arts & Entertainment

Talking street, straight from the heart

It seems as though the notoriously slow Montreal hip-hop world is being jostled awake by up-and-coming powerhouse female rap duo Heart Streets. With their smooth voices, and bold but unassuming presence, they are beginning to create some serious waves on the scene. Heart Streets took to the stage last Friday night at Cabaret du Mile End for the release of their second EP Beats, Blunts, & Broads in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

The group consists of Montrealers Gabrielle Godon and Emma Beko, who founded Heart Streets two years ago. In combining Godon’s soulful, sultry voice with Beko’s swift and raspy rapping, the close friends discovered a unique dynamic that has since captured international attention. With the help of the smooth production of Andre Milton, the girls have developed a style that fills a serious void in the genre.

Godon and Beko say they are often asked what it’s like to be two white girls in the hip-hop industry—and they insist their profiles don’t  change much.  However, they do see that it has a certain power in attracting people to their music.

“It brings curiosity,” explains Godon. “People are like, ‘Who is this girl rapping and this girl singing with a soulful voice?’ [We’re] white, and [we’re] young; they are curious to see what we have to offer.”

This fresh, unapologetic attitude certainly parallels the nature of their music. Their lyrics are edgy and real; in fact, they seem to encapsulate the nature of Montreal. The laid-back music video to their single, “Nonchalant,” takes viewers on a street tour of the city, and features the girls’ friends and favourite local hang-outs. The feel is certainly quite old-school, but they also find inspiration from newer artists such as Azealia Banks and Kendrick Lamar.

Heart Streets has been featured on major music blogs such as Pitchfork, The Fader, and The Mirror Noisemakers Issue. They have gained increasing attention, especially following their collaboration with LOL Boys on the groovy single Changes. Heart Streets’ growing success has brought them to the stages of Pop Montreal and M for Montreal in the last year. They’ve opened for big names like Radio Radio and Bran Van 3000 at L’Olympia, and they continue to fill venues throughout the city.

Five years from now, Heart Streets hopes to be touring around the world.

“[We want] to be living out of the music,” says the duo.

There is no doubt that with their spunky outlook and expansive talent they will go on to redefine Montreal’s hip-hop story and pave the way for future female artists.

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