A handful of B.C.’s most talented hip hop and rap artists will be taking the stage at the Rainbow Room in Port Alberni this week.
Headlined by Nanaimo rapper Sirreal, the Red Kingdom tour will be arriving in Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 2.
Sirreal, also known as Matt Dunae, has shared the stage with some of the biggest hip hop artists in the world, including Ghostface Killa, Nelly and Classified. He is the five-time winner of the Freestyle Battle Rap competition and one of the top TikTok hosts in Canada and has distributed his albums in all 88 Sunrise Record stores across Canada.
Outside of his life in music, Dunae is a father, a community ambassador and former crisis worker turned community support worker who has spoken to youth at conferences, workshops and schools throughout Vancouver Island.
For Sirreal, the Red Kingdom tour will be his biggest tour yet. Back in 2020, he had a 17-show tour booked and a number of radio interviews scheduled, but this was all cancelled by the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions.
“I was not in a good place then,” said Dunae. “It’s been two and a half years, and I’m chomping at the bit to perform. This tour will be a bit of redemption.”
It will be Sirreal’s second stop in Port Alberni this year, after a performance on the Five Acre Co. Summer Concert Series stage earlier in August.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said Dunae. “Lance and the team from Five Acre Co., they always put on an amazing show.”
Dunae has been in the music business for around 16 years. He made it through a difficult childhood, including the loss of his older brother to suicide, and poured himself into his music to create a message of hope and resilience. He describes music as a sort of medicine that makes listeners feel less alone.
“I’ve known a lot of loss,” he said. “I started rapping and performing in schools. It was a way for me to give back to the community that gave me so much.”
Sirreal’s most recent release is The Red Album, which came out in 2021. He will also be performing some songs from his fourth studio album titled The Blue Album. Both of the albums have distinct moods, he explained. The Blue Album is more thoughtful and meditative, while The Red Album is more energetic.
“The Red Album is the album you want to turn up and clean your house to,” he laughed.
For the Red Kingdom Tour, Sirreal will be joined by some of his favourite artists on the Island, including Details, Revron and Oktiv6, as well as DJs Benny the Jett and Bloke 1.
The tour is also proof that music runs in the family, as Dunae will be joined on stage by his 13-year-old son, who performs under the stage name Lower Case g.
“Performing with him is definitely my favourite thing on the planet,” said Dunae.
Dunae says anyone can enjoy the show, even if they aren’t necessarily hip hop fans.
“We are bringing three hours of absolute hype entertainment,” said Dunae. “It will be an experience like no one has seen before.”