The Planet Goonda Tour hit up Vancouver and left us ablaze on Dec 19 at Fortune Sound Club. Check out our music review of the line up of three artists– Music Producer Skinny Local, Rapper BAINS., and rap duo Cartel Madras.

Skinny Local is everything that is right with contemporary desi music production

Image: Skinny Local

I never pass up an opportunity to see Skinny Local in action. His whole brand is so unique and authentic to himself and we’re all about it at 5X Fest. This set saw heavy influence of nostalgic 90s Bollywood–young Sridevi, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Madhuri Dixit in visuals and music to get you reminiscing shaking your 5 year old booty to B4U Hits 20-something years ago in your living room–as well as bass heavy Gujarati music to get you hella vibing in your seat. This set expanded the crowd’s musical palette to include a beautifully executed experience integrating the past, present and future of sounds. He also brilliantly incorporated the music of fellow local music producer Empwr (@empwrmusic), whose beats will transcend you to a higher dimension.

All in all, Skinny brought the drip. He was the perfect intro to a powerful evening of performances, and he set precedent for the intensely exhilarating energy of the rest of the evening.

BAINS. is way more than just a nice guy


Upon hearing BAINS. perform for the first time, one thing is clear: BAINS. needs no hype man. His stage presence is warm as well as electrifying and he’s full of energy from start to finish. It is seldom you see artists truly enjoying themselves in the way that BAINS. does on stage. He knows how to groove to his own jams, and his joy to perform is infectious; the crowd was quick to join in his merriment and it was clear they were all about him as they creeped closer to the stage to get a better feel of his energy. He is also admirably quick to turn a dreary and cold Thursday night into a party. This is no easy feat, but he managed to do it flawlessly.

BAINS.’ raps are complex – he creatively executes flow, rhythm and synergy within his bass heavy tunes that remind you of an eclectic and innovative cross between The Weeknd, NAV, and ELHAE, but be warned, he’s unique to his own sound. BAINS. is a whole MOOD that I’m all about after experiencing this performance.

BAINS. is more than just a nice guy, and his ability to get a room grooving to his tunes is power he’s keeping safe under his belt to unleash whenever he sees fit. Vancouver, beware.

Cartel Madras be bad and bossy and we’re gonna call this a hit

Image: Sub Pop Records

Mighty. Unapologetic. Charismatic. I’ve had the privilege to come across these two extremely talented womxn a few times this past year and, as I mentioned in a music review I wrote about the importance of their work a few weeks ago for, Cartel Madras are not bowing out of the trap game any time soon.

At the surface level, Cartel Madras quickly remind you of the underground rap scene because their vibe is so raw. Yet, their stage presence is powerful and refined with experience, the prevalence of which was clear as they jumped off-stage into the crowd to feel the love and energy freely given to them. You cannot take your eyes off of Contra and Eboshi for the whole show, and there is something liberating about how unique they are in their messaging. The most timid in the audience were even quick to engage in the power of Cartel Madras, who were interactive and engaging with their audience members and each other throughout the show; constantly engaging in sister banter on stage between songs while they were at it. Their performance was heavy with tunes from their latest anthemic album “Age of the Goonda,” which comprises of bass heavy party tunes and playfully crafted progressive lyricism, but they also played fan favourites like Katthu Puttu and Red Notice – which are similar in tone and execution. In fact, the crowd loved the duo so much that they compelled Cartel Madras to get back on stage at the end of their set with two more songs.

True to being outspoken, chants of F*CK BJP that spilled from an Anti-CAA protest from the afternoon echoed into the show by crowd members, and Cartel Madras were quick to jump on board to get the whole room chanting with them. I’ve always known Cartel are all about free-speech in their branding, but as a General Manager for a music festival and a co-founder of a social justice platform, I’ve seen countless cross-cultural live performances and also stay up to date on issues affecting the South Asian diaspora. It’s dope and refreshing to see Cartel Madras be consistent, serious and true to who they are live as well.

They’re brown, they’re bad, they’re gold. And they’re not stopping any time soon. Cartel Madras have made space for themselves in the trap scene, and that space is continuing to grow.

Glossy Outro

Congratulations Blueprint, Lamb’s Breath and Snakes x Ladders on an incredible show. And a special shout out to the artists and the crowd for delivering brown fire and fury on a winter weeknight as we gear toward the holidays.



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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.