Page 1

T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

F O R E W A R D

B Y

M A E S T R O

F R E S H

W E S



91


“Hip Hop does, it makes it happen, it represents. Hip Hop doesn’t document (well), it simply does. T-Dot Pioneers is an attempt to document and continuously engage Toronto’s hip hop histories. The purpose of the book is to document, explore, celebrate and educate. T-Dot Pioneers is designed to both educate and anchor future generations while simultaneously recognizing and honouring hip hop pioneers and catalystic figures.” — DJ Grumps/Dr. Mark V. Campbell


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form of by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior consent of the publishers. T-Dot Pioneers: An Exploration of Toronto’s Hip Hop History & Culture Copyright © 2014 Mark V. Campbell To all authors and contributors Edited by: Mark V. Campbell Acknowledgements The Editor would like to extend gratitude to all the contributors and to the talent and assistance of the following individuals: my Brother DJ DTS, Jake D’ Snake, Dalton Higgins, K-4ce, Moni, Emily Mills, Heather, Dee, DJ Veteran, Nabil Shash, Felicia Mings, Bobby O’Neil, Onyx Society of OCADU, Ivan Berry, Rumble, Jonbronski, Taejon Cupid, True Daley, Chris Jackson, Nia Centre for the Arts & Ebti Nabag. Cover design by THNKBISI

This book would have not been possible without the support of Ontario Arts Council. Printed in Canada


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE


FOREWARD By Wes ‘Maestro’ Williams

One of the many aspects that I have always appreciated about the

embody the essence of Hip Hop but it re-enforced what it meant to

history and evolution of New York City’s Hip Hop scene was that a

be in an era that celebrated the “physical “ as opposed to today when

blueprint was paved for the rest of the United States, North America

we seem in most cases to only celebrate the “digital”. I recently was

and the world to follow. I remember reading an early interview from a

at the gym working out and got into a conversation with a twenty-one

U.S. Rap publication in the early 1980’s with Afrika Bambaataa, way

year old brother. He wasn’t too familiar with my music but told me that

before the era of The Source and VIBE magazines. Bambaataa was

he felt that I could be doing more for my community as a black artist.

expressing the importance of documenting Hip Hop history. Although

This struck a cord with me and I felt compelled to tell him that I was

I cannot remember the specific name of the magazine, Bam’s words

the first MC out of Toronto to have social commentary in my music. I

resonated with me. I will never forget reading those words and

then told him that back in 1988 and 89 when Toronto and the rest of

as I evolved as a Canadian Hip Hop pioneer, I acknowledge the

Canada seemed to turn their back on Ben Johnson, I was one of the

importance, (especially in this specific era), to document what we

artists to mention this in my music. When the brother responded by

have accomplished in our country as well as in our city.

asking me, “Who’s Ben Johnson?” I realized that in many cases, this generation has been mentally/culturally conditioned not to embrace

I grew up watching DJs and always admired sound systems. There

or know our culture or history. It was not his fault that he did not

was always something intriguing with what could be done with an

know the trials and tribulations of the Toronto Olympic sprinter but

actual piece of vinyl. To see what DJs could do with two records

I still found this to be incredulous based on his initial comments

always captivated me. Toronto was always the younger brother to

towards me. I feel that based on today’s technological advances,

New York City. We learned, admired, appreciated and in several

we have been indirectly programmed not to have knowledge of self.

cases, we challenged our big brother. Several battles of MC’s, Break

As a matter of fact, I do not doubt that billions of dollars have been

Dancers and DJs took place here in Toronto in the early to mid 80’s

invested for the youth to be programmed not to have knowledge of

and this has been a blessing for me to be a part of, as a fan as well as

themselves.

from the perspective of a young aspiring local MC. From a Hip Hop perspective, if we do not have knowledge of our In 2013, Toronto has now evolved and is acknowledged as one of the

history not only are we disrespecting ourselves, but we are also

most vibrant and popular cities in North America. In terms of black

allowing others to misunderstand and disrespect us. Acknowledging

music, Toronto Hip Hop and R&B artists are now critically acclaimed

and then documenting our past accomplishments locally, nationally

and are receiving Grammys and other international accolades.

as well as internationally rectifies this problem. It is an honour for

Looking back at what Afrika Bambaataa said decades ago, it is more

me to continue to evolve as an artist as well as to continue to grow

important now than in any other era to document our history. If we

as student of Hip Hop. Toronto continues to take it to the next level

do not, then future generations will not know of the ground-breaking

by breaking international barriers and it is a blessing to still have the

efforts of our past which set up the foundation for local artists to be

passion to celebrate, embrace as well as to document our vibrant Hip

finally standing on international podiums. Back in the days when the

Hop history.

DJ actually touched the vinyl of a record and searched the grooves to find the perfect break to blend in with another record, not only did this




TRACK ONE: Always Reppin ft/ K-4CE

Produced by: DJ DTS, Mr. Grumpy, Jake D’ Snake and Dalton Higgins Additional assistance from Moni, Emily Mills, Heather, DJ Veteran, Nabil Shash & Felicia Mings Curated by: Toronto’s Hip Hop community


WELCOME

By Mark V. Campbell aka Mister Grumpy T-Dot Pioneers is a sample, a small and humble segment of a much

the last 28 years. Regular listeners of the Fantastic Voyage, The

bigger landscape, yet representative of that whole’s essence. Like all

Real Frequency, The Masterplan Show and The Powermove show

well-utilized samples, it is flipped and slowed down with a little bit of

captured these shows on cassette and were kind enough to dig them

echo. This sample we call T-Dot Pioneers is the past reverberating

out and digitize them. The power of these shows to create a sense of

into our future, teaching our children, and the population at large,

community is unmatched by commercial radio and this is why they

about the beauty of Hip Hop culture evidenced in the art of Fantastic

are central to the exhibition. There is also something surreal about

Poppers or the Turnstylez Crew. From varied roots and routes,

today’s teenagers’ unfamiliarity with the cassette—one of hip hop

Toronto Hip Hop culture is so diasporic and global that people

culture’s foundational mediums. The speed at which technology

embarrassingly continue to talk of it as a hyperlocal phenomenon,

changes the game is mesmerizing, so that what once nurtured a

continually comparing us to our southern neighbour. When Dream

sense of community in the past (college radios, mixtapes, especially

Warriors push 800,000 units in Europe, Junior Reid produces for

50 volumes) loses sway in a new generation unsure what analog

Rumble in Jamdown and K’naan tours the continent of Africa without

means and dipped in digital everything. Thus, all the listening stations

proper recognition at home, its time to flip the script and remix the

in the exhibition embrace the Walkman aesthetic, requiring listeners to

stale Toronto/New York narrative.

rewind cassette and take the risk of getting a beloved show chewed up.

T-Dot Pioneers is an attempt to ensure names like Butch Lee, Lady P,

Why a gallery exhibit and why now? Well, since Hip Hop’s most

or K4ce and many others do not disappear, as well as a way to bring

acclaimed philosophers had claimed it was dead, and many are

all the elements back together so what one can witness the culture

already claiming it lives in the North, maybe it was time for some

and not just its consumable elements. The items collected in this

edumacion for the masses. I’ll be the first to admit I am the first

exhibition have been part of a year-long process to convince people

person that needs to be educated, despite being a trained educator.

to dig through their basements, archives and photo albums. Some

This is the sad irony, if we are to rely on society’s official institutions

found plaques, others found posters, flyers and vinyl—everyone

the marginalized and minority voices will continue to be vague

found (or at least rediscovered) memories both good and not-so

interruptions into what is marketed as ‘urban music’. To have an

good, but memories of fun, carelessness and boldness. Importantly,

exhibition on Toronto Hip Hop history is to refuse to think of Hip

the “incomplete timeline” that orientates this exhibit is a participatory

Hop as solely a commodity and to remind us all that Hip Hop is art.

one, inviting members of the Hip Hop community to ‘tag the timeline’

From Lady Noyz’s perfectly executed windmills to D.O.’s outdoor 8

to document their own history. In doing so, T-Dot Pioneers refuses

hour freestyle (8hours 45 minutes to be exact) to Arcee’s slangusitic

the erroneous assumption that history or herstory can be told,

innovations to the latest burner to decorate Lawrence East station

documented or analyzed by any one person. Instead, the ‘incomplete

to Lil’Jaz’s beat juggling, it’s time (word to Theo) to return to hip hop

timeline’ recognizes and pays homage to the multiplicity of herstories,

culture as art. Welcome to our historically informed echo-infused,

voices and experiences inherent in the culture.

future present.

Throughout the exhibition there are several listening stations where one can listening to various college radio hip hop shows from


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

Michee Mee, Motion, Mel Boogie, Tru Daley, Jeni McKenzie, Tara Muldoon, DJ L’Oquenz, Isis, Lady P, and Danielle Ettiene.

Thrust, DTS, K4ce, Rumble, Howie, Johnbronski.


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

Fresh Kills vs. Frost (Producer vs. Bboy Series) Video Installation by Mark Valino


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

J-Wyze and DJ DTS with Soul Controller’s 2003 Justco Award for Reggae Meets Hip Hop

Crown-A-Thornz

Photo by Nabil Shash


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

B-Boy Frost

Photo by Nabil Shash

Mathematik

Photo by Nabil Shash


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

Tara Chase

Photo by Nabil Shash


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

Thrust

Photo by Nabil Shash


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

Lady P, Interviewed by DJ Jake D’ Snake

TRACK ONE


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

K4ce Keynote address March 4, 2010

Photo By Nabil Shash


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

Double Soul, Ramos Ent. & DJ Mastermind

TRACK ONE

Future b-girl Kiana


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

Generously donated by DEA

TRACK ONE


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

Photo credit: Knowtorietywhyz


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

From the collection of Johnbronski


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE

STILL IN MOTION T-Dot Pioneers is groundbreaking — an initiation long overdue that

T-Dot Pioneers is a timeline that’s long, from hearing B-Boy

arrived just on time. It took foresight to envision this living record of

Destruction for the first time, to jamming through the doors of Concert

the birth and growth of Hip Hop art and culture in this city. It took

Hall, Party Centre, Astrolight to women controlling mics, from blockos

many mobilizers, from artists to scholars to creative visionaries, to

to chart-topping.

execute this exhibit that records the continuing influence of our Hip Hop in local, national and global culture.

T-Dot Pioneers is a chance to immortalize those who now live on rare records, dubbed videos, flyers and live freestyle tapes, those

T-Dot Pioneers is a document of over 30 years of Hip Hop through an

who were born to build the culture and now have passed over, the

inter-active archive, a mounted museum ranging from posters and jam

uncountable names that live again when we do our roll calls, our

flyers, to first pressings and gold records, comiczines, mixtapes, and

shout outs and our bigups.

college radio shows running through walkmans. T-Dot Pioneers is a re-Union of Hip Hop’s foundation as it continues TDot Pioneers is a reminder — a reminder of Our-story. That Our-story

producing, moving, DJing, directing, rhyming, mentoring, promoting,

is one that needs to be recalled, retold, debated, reflected upon, and

building, celebrating 25th anniversaries, getting stars on walks of

passed on.

fame, becoming legends.

T-Dot Pioneers connects with the collectors — the photographs, the

T-Dot Pioneers is a beginning…

flyer keepers, the writers, the story tellers — the holders of those pieces, that treasured swag that transforms into historical artifacts.

Peace, Motion


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK ONE



TRACK TWO: The Glenn Gould Remix feat. Bobby O’Neil Track Two: The Remix ft. Bobby O’Neil Produced & Curated by: Knowtorietywhyz Visuals by: Taejon Cupid and True Daley Mastering & Mixing: Chris Jackson and CBC Additional Assistance: Ann, Joe, Joel Skinner & Emily Mills


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

T-Dot Pioneers 2011 The Glenn Gould Remix

TRACK TWO


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

“Once Assembled” Photography Exhibition by Bobby O’Neil

Bobby O’Neil, DJ X, DJ Starting From Scratch, DJ Mastermind and Vivian Barclay @ T-Dot Pioneers 2011.


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

Kardinal Offishall

Photo by Taejon Cupid


ckln 88.1, Rap City & Ron Nelson Productions ~ PRESENTS :

\. ?oe.... \\ c ~ 11 c&---

THE RETURN OF THE ORIGINAL

2 .. J\f\~ f:>'LAYD 3

t

\All24>aU)

) (-

4. c HftSt ~ JVt:oVE=THE

ERA.

~.

..at the

路.

THE SPECTRUM 2714

DANFORTH

FRIDAY DEC.13TH

IF:Hil@IJ~!ill1!1l 1'd:\Mm'lr! l ll 1 ! IMll!!l~ if:iaH il;1il@ =-~ Flemo BASS POET

Advance Prllluclims XACTWIIDOM Jane &Rnch SUPERIOR J Jungle NAmHDWIE

lf:fjll!lr!fl:WIHIW-:l:l!=1 Mississagua 2VERSIOlLE Pickering MEL0-0 Hamilton Pomc JUSTICE Ottowa GROUND CONTROL Montreal PROJECT ONE Butta lo KINGBORN . Detroit RAZOR BLAYD Brooklyn J.R.ROCK &THE 40 .OZ. CREW

S. Bronx/tO.fjl!:l:W, f~lt:l:WJ:J1U-;,i,1!tliiillt.-,;,'l1ilillt1;mm_ Non Stop Hip Hop Vibe: ckln's !DJX

:= IM=As=r =ER =M=tND jDJ SCAM

'

Hosts IJOHNBRONSKI IFARLEY

FLEX

Also Featuring "THE SEARCH FOR TORONTOS # l BATTLE RAPPER... " WINNER FACES nM DOG NEW YEARS EVE AT THE All NEW CLUB FOCUS 1524 OAKWOOD) FO ' A $1000 CASH PRIZE. 1 0$ Admit/8$ With gold flyer 路p lease arrive early to ensure admission! 699- 991 3 for more info

'BA- ,--- roe-~~Of.

91

7PM - SAM!

9PM SH 0 WTI ME!

5 - ~~,\eDL

T

f5.~~7c.-r-1

'1 , f\Jfl ly l \JP

~

11 . 2:~

!2.c

f::JN0 ~

13 ~ S)j_Al<t/Yl ~ SJJ~f1z_

/4-路

r:~ 3 y . LPt<J-> l'PHtP.lt?tz~


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

Monster Jam: “First of all the flyer says “Ron Nelson Productions” so at a time when a lot of people & false promoters were onto or getting into Hip Hop there was alot of false advertising of American Hip Hop Artist coming to town, so to see Ron Nelson & ckln on the flyer not to mention the great Concert Hall this was like New Years eve countdown to the event in JUNE!!!” The line up was considered AMAZING ! The spotlight and main attraction wasn’t just on the artist it was on the sound systems too because Chic Dynasty and Killowatt Sound Crews had a very big following of their own so this was where all the excitement would be and the flyers were everywhere, it was even cool to carry of actually have one for safe keeping.... now we throw em right of the cars after the club ha!!” — Michee Mee


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

Basement Flavor Tour/ In Montreal: “First Priority invades Canada and we rolled as a team of talent 2 deadly Women on the mic and it was on new music from everyone promoted as the same time Canada knew who we all were so it was cool to see a neutral response full of love for ALL crews. They wasn’t a sense of they were from the USA and we were from Canada so we’re opening up... it was like who wants to sound check 1st or go eat/ go to the mall, and we ALL eat the mic @ night!!! fear none collect fans & let’s keep it moving a true Family tour!!!” — Michee Mee


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

The Honey Jam: “It was the first time women of all Urban genre actually met and performed together on one showcase. Honey Jam was breaking all barriers because it was not only the ONLY place to get some light and publicity if you were a female rapping much less playing guitar n and eventually dare to rock n roll as it met young R & B. Funny enough Honey Jam started out with mostly female emcees ..almost straight Hip Hop, but we were cool we let the R&B’er get down, no lol it was nothing but LOVE and a lil’ fear that night. Nerves were everywhere and Ebonnie Rowe was the ‘Boss” and no issues in reminding u at any out of line questioning. Artists were fresh in town like ms. Tara Chase fresh from Montreal made a special appearance that was my favorite memory of the night!! I was hosting so Eb was in my ear and I could do no wrong u maahhhdd !!! She was so pretty & straight forward and organized I just wanted to be down with the Team Denise, Jemini , Viv and the crew lots of memories of beginnings of true friendships for us on the front lines as Women of Canadian Urban Music scene. Media watching boys in the house we had to be professional ladies and THAT WE were and STILL ARE!!!! Till this day all the Honeys that have found International and local success still Jam.....” — Michie Mee


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

The Nod Factor event flyer (1996) Generously donated by Turnstylz Crew


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

DJ DTS’ TOP 15 MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN HIP HOP 1. Seeing Sunshine versus Donovan soundcrew and Donovan had Kid Flash he was 14 years old doing some big mixes at West Humber Collegiate 1982/1983. JC was spinning for Sunshine. 2. My very first soundclash at Albion community centre, 1984, it was Powerhouse Soundcrew (JnF) vs. Thriller (chalkfarm) soundcrew. Our speaker caught fire during my first battle, the speaker was homemade. We still won. 3. 1988, CHRY’s Metro Mix-offs it was the first one CHRY put on. I competed against Howie Hughes, Power, Nick Holder, Peter from Peter & Tyrone (DJ Easyrock). I had a splinter on my middle left finger and couldn’t do anything that I had practiced, but I soldiered it. This was my very first DJ battle. 4. Sunshine Sound Crew’s Tony D and Brother Different alongside Powerhouse Soundcrew party Flemington park blocko in the hockey rink, almost a thousand people where there. And playing “Rebel without a Pause for the 1st time”. Everyone in the room turned around and looked at me when the record said “Brothers and Sisters”…when people heard the “the rhythm, the rhythm” they went crazy. I followed up with “I know you got soul”. DRK and Frankie were the original bboys at the party, I played for the bboys. The crowd response to Rebel without a Pause was so amazing because people could not prejudge the music from hearing it on the radio. People heard songs for the first time at parties. 5. Playing at Live at the BBQ, from this event I got the feeling hip hop was no longer taking a back seat to reggae. Meeting Thrust, DJ X and 10K and brainstorming this event at Ron Nelson’s show 1990/1991 was crazy. The concept was all hip hop, this was unique, I got to play real hip hop for the crowd. 6. Doing the Advance Remix with Ron Nelson on WBLK 93.7. This was his own spot where he recorded mixes from deejays in the Toronto in a 15 set. 7. Forming Soul Controllers with Power, Tyson & Dove of the Vibe in 1991/1992.

8. Playing at the Too Black guys Anniversary parties at 318 Richmond Street, that party helped make the Soul Controller’s name, we ripped 4 turntables, that CD is still getting rinsed across Toronto. I meet Tony Toni Tone that night when they came into the DJ booth to big us up. 9. Having the Soul Controller’s 10-year anniversary party with Bobby Condors and Cipher Sounds. 10. Winning the Justco Award in 2003 for the Reggae meets Hip Hop Vol. 8 11. 1995 Live @ the BBQ the Alkaholiks come to chill at the Soul Kitchen after their show in Toronto flops due to bad promotion. 12. St. Georges Blocko right were CIUT was before it moved. Warren from Sunshine soundcrew organized it and this allowed different neighbourhoods to get together, it was great to be a part of such unity. 13. Playing at a blocko in Jane’ n Finch when Ultramagnetic MCs passed through after performing at Concert hall the night before. 14. A Chic Dynasty, Powerhouse and Ron Nelson New Years party was sold out, people were blocking both sides of the street. This was 1987. All the people that did not get into the jam raided the 7-Elevenv store and it left the corner of Oakwood and Vaughn forever. 15. Meeting Grandmaster Flash at Jane and Finch at PnDs Uptown. I let Flash use my records, it was his joint Freedom. He has forgotten his own and used mine, up in Jane in Finch. That was kinda crazy to me.


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

Generously donated by Chris Jackson


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

Let Your Backbone Slide — the vision board handdrawn by Wes Williams himself. From the collection of Joel Goldberg.


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK TWO

I remember Ken E’s show this night. Ken E was opening, him and Skad had the crowd hype! The sound cut out in the middle of their set and this messed with the whole vibe. Ken E got upset and told the soundman to start the record again from the top. It was Rick from Beatfactory controlling the sound. Ken E & Skad jumped back on and rocked the set. The show was a classic, Eric B & Rakim killed it, the rope chains, the tracksuits, the whole vibe was crazy!!! — Rumble



TRACK THREE:

T-Dot Pioneers 3.0: The Future Must Be Replenished feat. Onyx Society at OCADU Produced and Curated by: Dr. M.V. Campbell Mixed & Mastered by: Onyx Society of OCADU


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK THREE

T-DOT PIONEERS 3.0: The Future Must Be Replenished

T-Dot Pioneers 3.0: The Future Must Be Replenished features the

after Maestro’s Fresh Wes’ debut platinum album Symphony in Effect

creative ingenuity of nine emerging visual and mixed media artists

(1989), an invaluable window into the future of aesthetic culture in

exploring the foundation of Toronto’s hip hop scene. Asked to reflect

Toronto. The mixed media pieces in the exhibition range from acrylic

on how hip hop culture has influenced their aesthetic style, the

portraits, to wood sculptures, to meditative mandalas—all expressing

emerging artists showcase in the 2013 exhibition explore a variety

the diverse and lasting impact of hip hop cultures.

of themes connected to the idea of replenishment. By interrogating the archive, envisioning the role of the artists in documenting and

The Future Is To Be Replenished is an urgent call to tomorrow’s

promoting historical culture, the artists push us to think about the

creative agents, to continue to strive forward with the nourishment of

impact of hip hop culture beyond the monetary calculations of album

hip hop’s founding innovators. Thus, the artists and designers from

sales. The artists on exhibition for T-Dot Pioneers 3.0 are members of

the Onyx Society at OCADU creatively interrupt what it might mean to

the Onyx Society at OCADU, a student-run community and support

replenish the future by interrogating the ways in which hip hop culture

network for students of African descent.

has influenced their aesthetic and creative style.

Rather than solely focusing on the nostalgia of hip hop’s golden years, The Future Must Be Replenished offers us a vision of the aesthetic legacies and futures of hip hop cultures in Toronto and beyond. T-Dot Pioneers 3.0 provides artistic insights of a generation of youth born


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK THREE


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

TRACK THREE

Opening Night, T-Dot Pioneers 3.0: The Future Must be Replenished. Photo credit by Ebti Nabag


T-DOT PIONEERS: AN EXPLORATION OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP HISTORY & CULTURE

Michael Hemans

Carolyn Douse

Joathan McMahon

TRACK THREE

Left: Olayide Madamidola & Bianca Channer Right: Mistee J. Clarke

Olayide Madamidola & Bianca Channer

Tamu Stevens


T-DOT PIONEERS

e ~ •.

. '

·

~ OllTAlllO.&lfl'HDUOICI.

JI'"\ CDlllSDLDHAl!nDlL'OlfTARIO


AN INTERVIEW WITH DJ MASTERMIND

What was your very first experience with Toronto hip hop and what element did you encounter and what was your reaction or your thoughts?

one it would be (too funny)...As for the “Fantastic Voyage”, I listened religiously EVERY Saturday...One day I called in to play a contest and wound up winning tickets to see LL COOL J live at Concert Hall...I think I may have been 12 or 13...When I went down to Ryerson to

I was 11 or 12 years old and saw some kids breakdancing outside

pick up the tickets I was so nervous...Ron was a hero to me...I got his

Eaton Centre and was hooked...Went back to my neighbourhood

autograph and everything. I went to the concert with my older sister

and tried to find anyone who breakdanced and asked them what

and loved every minute of it...I must have looked like such a punk with

music they were listening to...somehow I was told about Saturdays

all the older people there LOL. As time went on I somehow became

on CKLN...that same Saturday I was on my backyard deck (in the

one of Ron’s street team members and would help him put posters up

snow) with my shitty-ass radio with coat hangers for antennas trying

during the night around the city for his concerts & parties...Somehow

to listen to and record the “Fantastic Voyage” radio show hosted by

that parlayed into calling into his show one Saturday to answer some

RON NELSON...It was magical...I remember hearing La Di Da Di in

trivia questions...Ron put me on live and we played “Name That Tune”,

between the static...and from that moment on it was nothing but Rap/

I got every question correct and on the air he says “Damn, you’re like

Hip-Hop for me. I lived it, studied it, learned it...I also somehow found

a Mastermind” (the funny part is Ron used the name “Mastermind” as

out about Carnival Records & Starsound Records on Yonge Street

his alter-ego when he would play house/dance parties so he called me

and when ever I had $10.00 I would head down and buy ONE record...

“Mastermind II” but after I got my own radio show he graciously gave

because I could only afford ONE it would take me hours to decide...I

up the name and let me have it and from there it stuck.

would go back and forth from store to store until I could decide which


front of the stage and just watch him spin. (I was a very shy/awkward

How did your first radio show in 1987 at CHRY come to be?

kid so I would dance but I loved watching the DJ). NYC legend Mr. Magic (who I was lucky enough to meet) was an idol, as was DJ Red Alert (who I eventually became friends with). I’ve had so many people

There was an older guy on my street (Steve Perry) who was going to

small and big shape and influence me that there are too many to

York University, he had a ska/reggae show at CHRY (the new campus

mention.

radio station that just started at York University) he said the Program Director (who was really into Hip-Hop) was in search of someone to host a Hip-Hop show, he knew I was really into hip-hop and suggested

What has been your most memorable Toronto hip hop moment as a fan (not as a DJ)?

I go down and try to get a show. I was only 15 years old and thought he was nuts but he was persistent and eventually took me to the

So many....one that stands out was going to the legendary “NYC

station. I met with Kaan Yigit (the program Director) and introduced

Invades T.O. battle Part 2” in 1987...Cash Money & Marvelous VS

myself and explained how I would love to do a hip-hop show, not a

(I forget the DJ) but the rapper was MC Melody (who later became

few minutes into our chat he stops me and says and I quote, “ ok, ok,

Maestro Fresh-Wes) and Wes killed Marvelous...that was nuts... Biz

cool but do you know that “Mastermind” kid that I heard a week or two

Markie was there to battle T.O. beatboxers Mighty Mouth Rock and

ago on Ron Nelson’s show?”...Stunned, I said “That was me!”, he says

Kid Icy Beats (but instead he went on and did a full on show and

“We’ve been looking for you to host this show!” It was some sort of

performed “Nobody Beats The Biz” for the first time anywhere...the

“stars aligning” moment...we started talking about Hip-Hop and how

song wasn’t even out yet and it tore the place down...Man there are

we both love it and he eventually gave me a show that day.

so many...In ‘88, Ice-T came to town for press and he picked my show

How did you learn to dj and who were your role models?

to do an interview, I remember he rolled up to the small CHRY parking area in a limo, came up to the small humble studio and we recorded an interview in the back ‘cuz it was on a Monday or something and my show was on Wednesday’s…this is when “Power” came out. The

When I got my show I couldn’t DJ (not in the sense of 2 turntables)

Jungle Brothers came to town in ‘88 or ‘89 and Chris Lighty was their

I had a crappy 1 piece type record player at home that I learned

road manager at the time. They came by my show to do an interview

to scratch with using the volume control but I still couldn’t mix on

and later that night they call me cuz the promoter stiffed them, no

1200’s...my first DJ on my show was “Howie D”, he was there for a

hotel, no money, etc...I get a car together and we all squeeze into it, 4

few months and we had a falling out and then Al Capone came on

of them me & Al and we take care of them...Later that year, we go to

board (it was Al that showed me the basics of spinning/mixing on

NYC and thru some Def Jam connects I had got invited to a concert/

1200’s) after me & Al had a falling out, my PD said “No more DJ’s,

party on a boat in the harbour...Well, it just so happens the JB’s are to

you have to do it” so I jumped in head first and did the whole “Sink or

perform on the boat, we bump into Chris at the dock, he remembers

swim” thing...Luckily for I could “swim” and fairly well too : ) As for

the hospitality we showed him when they were in T.O. and takes us

“Role Models”, Ron Nelson for sure, without him, you wouldn’t have

on board as guests...Big Daddy Kane is the headliner, we’re chillin’ in

had me. Before I knew Ron, I would go to his parties and sit at the

the VIP where I meet a still un-released Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called


Quest and De La Soul. No one knew who they were yet...pretty cool. I also remember hanging out with KRS-One & Scot La Rock in front of Eaton Centre after we hung out at CKLN with Ron. This was just after “Criminal Minded” came out and some random girl came up to Kris and was like “Reggae is hotness or the future” or something like that and Kris says “No, Hip-Hop is” and kept it moving...There was this

The title of the exhibition Tdot Pioneers is taken from a Kneedeep record from the 1990s. Here is the logo I just stumbled upon this one day and I was wondering what do you think constitutes a T-Dot Pioneer and why should the next generation bother with event asking these questions?

bravado about him that oozed “Hip-Hop”. A “T-Dot Pioneer” is someone who in some way big or small made a The mixtapes! They were legendary and still talked about today, still

contribution to help shape the current atmosphere of Hip-Hop culture

bumpin volume 49. If there was one facet of your game (others being

in Toronto (and Canada on a whole). It could be a breaker or dancer, a

radio show and concerts) what would say made you most proud what

DJ, an MC, radio host, a manager, etc. If they influenced ONE person

would it be and why?

then they contributed...The fact that Kardinal and now Drake has taken over the world is a testament to our “breeding ground”...I would

I prided myself (and in some cases tortured myself) to make sure I had

love to hear Drake talk about his early days and who he listened

the newest music. Period! If it wasn’t out I had to have it — by any

to or whose parties he wouldn’t miss, etc. That is where you’ll find

means necessary. There was a DJ out of London Tim Westwood...

out some history...Because he has gotten so big, his story would

For some reason, he would get music BEFORE anyone else...it was

be interesting to know...And hopefully he is currently influencing the

crazy. I thought it was BS when I would see his charts and see songs

NEXT young talent that will come from T.O. because they’re seeing

that no one else had...I said I want that to be me...So I made it a point

him do it and they feel they can do it too!

of developing my contacts and ensuring that my show was so hot, important and not to be missed that it turned into a thing that if it was being sent to Canada it had to come thru me & my show... I remember doing the “Powemove Show” with DJ X, one Saturday, my boy from “Wild Pitch” came to town to see a girl he met at Caribana and made a point of coming thru to give me 2 white labels of this new unheard MC named “O.C.” we played “Times Up” like 4 times that day! Another time, I was spinning a whole bunch of new music and some unknown DJ made his way to the station to find out who I was and what I was playing and how I got my hands on these tracks. That DJ ended up being “Green Lantern” BEFORE he got big, when he was still in Rochester or Syracuse...So for me it has always been about the “new” music. Being able to “hear” or “pick” what WILL be hot and play it for my audience.


EPILOGUE By Mark V. Campbell

T-Dot Pioneers began as a way to launch and showcase archival

Leaf jerseys, hip hop in Toronto has creatively helped us forge a city

items on northsidehiphop.ca in March of 2010. It was also a way to

where we belong, a place we can confidently and assertively rep, the

honour many of the undocumented success of my older brother’s

T-Dot-O (word to K4ce).

illustrious DJ career from Powerhouse Soundcrew to the Soul Controllers Soundcrew to the Canada’s longest continuous running

Through various institutions and measurement tools, Toronto always

hip hop radio show, the Masterplan Show 89.5fm. Since its inception

want to know if people feel like they belong and are civically engaged,

in 2010, the T-Dot Pioneers Trilogy has blossomed and thus evolved

all the while, folks in NY, LA or MIA know this city as the T-Dot and

to do that which politicians, foundations and the public sector work

know longer Hogtown. A huge thank you to all the Pioneers that

hard to achieve each day—create community and foster belonging.

cleared the land and created a path for future generations to represent

More specifically, these exhibitions have helped to create a city that

lovely.

feels like home to racialized young people, arguably mirroring exactly what hip hop has done in this city. The T-Dot Pioneers Trilogy has provided folks, especially Pioneers an opportunity to reflect on the numerous ways in which Toronto has been creatively refashioned as home, a place to rep by its hip hop constituents. From rocking black blue jay hats, to Argos and Maple

MVC 2014


THANK YOU

Special Thanks To: DTS, Heather Haynes, Kareem Granger, Munira Ravji, Niceness, Chry Radio, Nabil Shash, Felicia Mings, Taejon Cupid, Onyx Society of OCADU, Ontario Arts Council, Nia Centre For The Arts, Dalton Higgins, Mindbender, Jonbronski, Ivan Berry, Master T, D.O. Citizen Kane, Dj Mel Boogie, Emily Mills, Ebti Nabag, Director X, Thrust, K4ce, Ota Live, Tru Daley, Tara Chase, Ebonnie Rowe, Lady P, Click, Crown-A-Thornz, Nadira Patterson, Soho Lobby Gallery, Killawat Soundcrew, Rumble, Mark Valino, Elicser, Chris Jackson, Dj Dopey, Jody, Canadian Heritage, Dj Romeo, Bobby O’Neil, All The Staff From The CBC Hip Hop Summit, Michie Mee, Saukrates, Rinaldo Walcott, Aisha Wickham, Letecia Rose, Ebony Hayes, Carolyn Roberts, Garvia Bailey, Design Enforcement Agency, Mark Stoddart, Kevin Ormsby, Timea Wharton, Ian Kamau , Uno, Camille Turner, Andrea Fatona, Joel Goldberg, Dj Grouch, Fatski, Theo-3, Jeni Mckenzie, Conrad Media, Son Of S.O.U.L, Isis, Toronto Free Gallery, DJ L’oquenz, Kevin ‘Ice; White, DJ Mastermind, Get Loose Crew, Carlito and Danielle Ettienne. R.I.P. Mc Fuller G



CONVERSATION Solitair I Marvel I Choclair



Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.