NXNE Thursday: Ain’t No Love

Ain’t No Love
The Drake Underground
NXNE Day 2:June 14, 2013

By Aaron Binder

Ain’t No Love is the real deal and are going to blow up.

At CMW in March 2013 there was a panel with representatives from Ticketmaster and Ticketfly, two competitors of David and Goliath proportions.  While the rep from Ticketmaster had big business on his side, it quickly became obvious that Ticketfly had spent hours upon hours creating a stone perfect enough to slay the unmoving giant.

Call Ain’t No Love the David of hip-hop in Canada and you’re not too far off.

In Canada we have a culture of appreciating mediocrity because it’s Canadian and we’re just so happy to have an industry separate from America’s.  Every few years an artist comes along that has everything they need to succeed internationally, Arcade Fire and Drake being the most recent examples.  When this happens the Canadian music industry and media hums and haws about why more artists don’t break through.

The obvious answer is that mediocrity isn’t rewarded anymore in the wider music business.  That’s why Ain’t No Love could succeed – they have a champion sound, incredibly passionate stage presence and when you look at this quartet of individuals they all possess the undefinable ‘It Factor’.  They released an EP earlier this year and upon picking up distribution they have at least two ready for radio singles that walk the line between underground appeal and mass market interest.

Just before 2AM on Friday the 14th, they took the stage at the Drake Underground and shot lightning bolts into their mics and blasted them out the sound system.  The room was far busier than you’d expect for a late night show so far from the central event core but obviously the buzz about this group is building.  The first thing you notice about Ain’t No Love is when they are on stage you can tell they’re having the best time of their lives.

It’s impressive when a group can get on stage and deliver for a solid 35 minutes without even taking a break.  There are no expectations upon first glimpsing the smallish figure of MC Roly but once the music starts he goes nuclear, stalking around stage with unique aggressiveness and Mike Tyson power delivery.  His male partner, Eli, is the counterbalance and delivers lyrics with smooth authority.

Saidah cuts through the middle with equal parts elegance and power, her small frame can be deceiving but once she belts those first notes into the microphone there’s no betraying she completes this jigsaw puzzle.  The production, provided by Liam, has a distinct maturity which reveals the countless hours spent perfecting every second of every song.

You’d expect this amount of energy out of a grindcore band trying to make a name for themselves, not a borderline pop/hip-hop group.  They’ve created the perfect sonic storm with Ain’t No Love and if they can export themselves to America and beyond properly, there is no doubt that this proverbial David could be one of the few Canadian acts to break the international mainstream.


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