Canada's Hip-Hop Pioneers Honoured with Cross-Country "I Was There!" Project
Published Mar 02, 2017Canada has come a long way in producing internationally recognized figures in hip-hop, but a new cross-country project is set to shine a light on the accomplishments of unrecognized genre pioneers.
Canadian hip-hop archivists Northside Hip Hop have detailed their largest multi-city collaboration yet, called the "I Was There!" project, with events set to focus on pioneering figures in hip-hop from Saskatoon, Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto. Each city's unique event is said to pay homage to the artists in digitizing artifacts and oral histories, which will be added to Northside's digital archive.
Saskatoon's NSHH Archive event will shine a light on Aboriginal women in hip-hop with a panel discussion led by Eekwol (a.k.a. Lindsay Knight), in addition to a performance alongside T-Rhyme and mRae Grooves.
Montreal's event will celebrate DJ Butcher T, who hosted Canada's first hip-hop radio program Club 980 on CKGM. He will be honoured with musical tributes from a new generation of hip-hop artists including Nomadic Massive, the Narcicyst and Strange Foots.
In Hamilton, the NSHH event will honour Leon "Eklipz" Robinson, a photographer, MC, painter, and b-boy who founded the city's Concrete Canvas hip-hop festival. The event will showcase Robinson's visual art and a screening of his documentary film I Was There! Steelcity Hip Hop Respective.
Toronto's event will look at the work of DJ Ron Nelson, whose Fantastic Voyage program on now-defunct community radio station CKLN proved influential in promoting and developing many of the country's early stars in the genre including Maestro Fresh Wes and Michie Mee. The event will see hip-hop radio hosts from community and commercial stations will discuss carrying on the legacy Nelson began.
Dates for each "I Was There!" event can be found below. Keep an eye on Northside Hip Hop's website for further details.
03/09 Montreal, QC - "I Was There!" Montreal Celebration
03/11 Saskatoon, SK - "I Was There!" Saskatoon Celebration
03/24 Hamilton, ON - "I Was There!" Hamilton Celebration
03/31 Toronto, ON - "I Was There!" Toronto Celebration