Saturday, December 31, 2011

Love, Props and the T.Dot

In the early 80's, I was the only white guy I knew that was into hip-hop. Heck, I was the only guy I knew who was into it period.

It all started on a grade eight class trip to Quebec City, where we were all shuttled off to a roller skating rink, more than likely to give our teachers a break from 30 hyperactive adolescents. It was in that rink that I heard Rapper's Delight by the Sugarhill Gang for the first time. Immediately I thought it was the most amazing thing I'd ever heard and, upon arriving back home in Toronto, started calling up the local radio stations to play the song. Every time I called I heard the same response: "we don't play that kind of music." The funny thing is, I don't think anyone really knew what "that kind of music" even was yet.

While most of my friends were discovering punk or new wave, I was trying to find more of this new music somewhere. Eventually I found a couple of other people who had heard of hip-hop (I actually ended up trading a long-forgotten record for the 12" single of The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five) and before long it happened: I heard a rap song being played...on the radio. Thanks to Ron Nelson and his Fantastic Voyage show on college radio station CKLN, my musical world changed forever. For the next several years, no matter where I was, I tuned into 88.1 to hear Kurtis Blow, UTFO, Kool Moe Dee, and Run-D.M.C. among many other of the early greats of the genre.

This documentary, produced by CBC Toronto, is an incredible retrospective of those early days of hip-hop with a particular focus on what was happening in the Canadian (mostly Toronto) scene. From the Maestro to Michie Mee to Kardinal, all of the great names of the Canadian hip-hop movement are here. So set aside 45 minutes and watch this amazing documentary that had me grinning from ear to ear thinking back to those early days with an old radio and a cheap set of headphones that I took with me everywhere I went. This is a throwdown!

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