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A love letter to your hometown: Ottawa rapper Peter Joynt’s cd release party

By Gloria Song on October 12, 2012

Gloria Song is an Ottawa-based writer and research lawyer, as well as the frontwoman for her own band Scary Bear Soundtrack

The works of Peter Joynt, the Ottawa-based rapper known as the Joynt, often read like an unusual love letter to his hometown. His track “Capcity”, where he proclaims himself Ottawa’s biggest fan, is so full of so much hometown enthusiasm that it was picked up by the Ottawa Senators, and a special Sens version of the song has been played at every hockey game last season.

The Joynt is now giving us a chance to celebrate Ottawa at his release party this Saturday, where he will be releasing his new Self-Sampled CD, an EP featuring entirely original samples taken from his own previous works over the last ten years.  He promises that it will be more of a party than a show, a celebration of all that is good about Ottawa, held at Orange Art Gallery right by the Parkdale Market.  The Joynt’s performances will be accompanied by projectors with video footage of beautiful aerial shots of downtown Ottawa taken from a helicopter, originally from an Ottawa Tourism video.   There will also be Ottawa-inspired art on the walls by local artists, and a deejay spinning tunes late into the night.

“I went to the Nuit Blanche and I really liked the vibe of that,” Peter explains to me over the phone. “A party, where you’re hanging out in an art gallery where there’s a lot to look at and a lot of people to talk to. I definitely wanted to do that, make it more of a multimedia art project than just an actual show.”

What has always struck me about Peter and his work is that in a world where rappers are expected to be confrontational, Peter just always comes across as incredibly positive. It’s not to say that his rapping style is particularly soft-spoken, but instead of the bitterness and cynicism that dominates a lot of hip hop music nowadays, the Joynt’s overriding tone is one of wonder and excitement. Instead of dissing other guys, he’s proposing to his fiancée (now wife) and including the recorded footage in the track “The Proposal”.  When people disagree with him, instead of telling them off, the Joynt just instructs them to “Get out of town, like the Scotiabank Place.”

“I think that is why the song Capcity took off and went the way it did,” Peter tells me over the phone. “Because lots of people trash Ottawa and just talk about the bad side, ‘It doesn’t have this or that.’ If you step back and look at what it does have and talk about the positive, you would realize it’s a great place to live.  I think that’s what caught people’s eyes. Here’s this guy talking positively about a city that may or may not be a sleepy city, but talks about all the great things going on.”

The Joynt’s positivity is particularly noteworthy when you consider the extra challenges he’s had to overcome as a rapper.  Peter Joynt is a stutterer, and has been stuttering as long as he can remember.  While many people in this situation might avoid public speaking and performing altogether, the Joynt has gone the opposite route and has embraced the public life of a performer.  What is remarkable is the fact that even though it’s hard to ignore his stutter when he speaks to me over the phone, the stutter disappears completely when the Joynt raps.  This phenomenon of a stuttering rapper has caught the interest of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, who recently featured an article about him in their news publication.

The Joynt’s Self-Sampled EP was a long process, but one that the Joynt has enjoyed.

“It’s been crazy but it’s been fun. It’s been neat that I’ve finally landed on people’s radars. I’ve been spending time to make the beats better, and make the songs better, because there are tons of people out there trying to do the same thing I am, and you really need a quality product if you’re going to go and do that.”

The Joynt’s Self-Sampled CD Release Party will be held on Saturday October 13 at Orange Art Gallery (233 Armstrong Street) from 8PM to 1AM. Cover is $15, which also gets you a copy of the Joynt’s CD.  Tickets are on sale in advance at Orange Gallery and from Peter Joynt. Some tickets will be available at the door.