Groovers are ramping up for funky samples, melodic grooves and vibrating basslines as The Royal hosts hip-hop duo Dragon Fli Empire this week.
Tarik Robinson, who goes by Teekay on stage and is one half of the group, said that attendees can expect a different genre of hip hop than the one that permeates today’s radios and clubs.
Classifying themselves as a throwback hip-hop group, Robinson described their sound as one “built on samples of funk and soul and hard-hitting drums” to contrast with the 808 drum machine and four-on-the-floor mentality that currently engrosses dance and club music.
“We have no issues with [club music] but it seems like back in the day there was more diversity pushed to the wider audiences. The thing is, that diversity still exists today but the only thing that gets pushed are things that are more club-oriented,” explained Robinson.
The duo themselves have been making music together since 2002, when they attended the same high school in Calgary, Alta. and Robinson first began creating beats on a small keyboard.
“I was just playing around with a keyboard and I didn’t realize at the time that what I was doing was making beats. At one point I just decided to start rhyming over top of them. I showed my friends and then it just built from there,” said Robinson.
For the last 13 years, Dragon Fli Empire have been touring, writing and playing music that represents what they know.
“We make lots of local references to Canada and we stay true to who we are,” said Robinson. “We don’t talk about anything that we don’t know. Our music is real, it’s honest, fun-loving and funky hip hop.”
The group’s British Columbian tour will be their first in four years, having made multiple trips to Europe to develop a fanbase there.
Robinson said, “We’ve been to Europe five times in the last four years on tours through Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and more. There are different niches for different styles of hip hop and I think fans in Europe just love the type of music we make.”
But Robinson said he is excited to kick off their homecoming tour across the province, beginning in Fernie.
Having previously played at The Royal, Robinson said he knows what to expect from a Fernie crowd.
“Fernie is a place we visit at least once a year but usually as a one-off because it’s close to Calgary … I think we’ve started developing a bit of a fanbase here and I think people just love to get down. We’ve had some crazy parties in Fernie and it’s been really cool. We can’t wait to come back,” he said.
You can expect hard-hitting drums and nice basslines.
“You’re going to hear really fast, sometimes slow, but always thought-provoking rhymes that are taking it back to the old school style. At a Dragon Fli Empire show, it’s not just us giving a show to you, there’s a lot of call and response involved. We want to get the crowd going and give back to us as we’re performing,” said Robinson.
Dragon Fli Empire will take the stage at The Royal Friday, April 24 at 9 p.m.