Montreal's best kept secret in hip-hop, Nomadic Massive, will perform for free in the Humanities Amphitheater tonight at 7 p.m.
The Cultural Attractions Committee aims to provide the UT community with culturally diverse experiences. They will kick off the school year with Nomadic Massive's mash up of French, English, Arabic, Spanish and Creole.
James Ballard, member of CAC, attended the National Association of Campus Activities Conference where he met Nomadic Massive's agent.
"It's hip-hop, fresh, fun," Ballard said. "We voted on them for this specific event, and now they're coming. I'm incredibly stoked."
According to Butta Beats, one of Nomadic Massive's nine members, its formation was almost by chance.
"We were already upcoming artists," Beats said. "The group was solidified when one of the core members was asked to perform at a festival and asked the rest of us to come along and play on an international stage."
It's this random creation that encouraged Ballard to bring the group to campus.
"They're a pretty diverse group of people," Ballard said. "They're from all around the world, and our goal is to bring culturally diverse events to campus. They're an act that lets us bring more than one culture in at once."
CAC corresponding secretary Lauren Thomsen agrees with Ballard's notions and said acts like these bring diversity to campus.
"It's important for CAC to bring acts like Nomadic Massive because it allows really high quality, interesting and diverse programming to be available to students for little to no cost," Thomsen said. "Our events are much different than a lot of acts students are exposed to and offer an opportunity to explore cultures and ideas that otherwise may not have been thought of."
However, Nomadic Massive does not tend to consider their diversity when performing, Beats explained.
"Yeah, we're interracial," Beats said. "We all add a dynamic to our show. We're all family by now. I mean, we've been together for ten years. We're just kicking it; we're having fun, and I think that speaks to people.
"We don't think about our diversity. It's not a calculated thing."
Ballard said he hopes more than the group's assortment will draw a crowd.
"The show's free, it's close to campus, and if people are just walking around, they'll hear them and be drawn in," he said. "They sound like a party."
Beats said he can't describe what kind of party they sound like and their sound is driven by a love for the genre.
"We're still figuring that out actually – what our sound is," Beats said. "We just are, you know what I mean? We just love hip-hop, and we reference a lot of music of black cultural origin."
Instead, Nomadic Massive focuses on presenting their audience with strong messages regarding social change. Lyrics like in their song "Higher" provide a prime example.
"When the rich get fat on wartime pelf, and on the meantime innocents starve to death / How low one could get just for some wealth."
Nomadic Massive's most recent, self-titled album came out in 2009, and they are still spreading their message of peace and equality through numerous mix tapes and an EP they put out this year.
Tonight's performance will be Nomadic Massive's first venture to Tennessee.
"I don't think anyone in the group has been to Tennessee," Beats said. "I've heard about Knoxville from sports and stuff, but that's it."
Nomadic Massive's music carries activism that, according to Beats, is unintentional.
"That's the kind of hip hop we choose to celebrate," Beats said in regards to their unintentional activism. "You are engaging in politics but through an artistic medium. We are given the freedom to do that, but we don't try to single out political agendas. It's just the music we write."
DJ Mike Nasty, who opened for Tyga last year at Volapalooza, will open the show.