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Big Ticket partners with Urbanology Magazine

Posted by Chris on February 28, 2013 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)

Big Ticket has partnered with Canada’s leading urban lifestyle publication,  Urbanology Magazine to bring the ultimate Hip-Hop performance series to the city of Toronto. With over 25 years in music industry, Chris Jackson created The Big Ticket with the goal of supporting Toronto Hip-Hop; and since the first show in July of 2012, he has done just that. The Big Ticket has seen performances from some of the most talented up and coming Toronto artists such as, Raz Fresco, Theology 3, Phoenix Paglacci and many more.

As a proud supporter of The Big Ticket movement, Urbanology Magazine will be providing giveaways at each show, as well as featuring select artists on www.urbanologymag.com as the Big Ticket Artist of the Month. In addition, Urbanology will continuously promote upcoming Big Ticket events through numerous social media platforms and monthly e-newsletters.

The next show, taking place on Friday March 8th will be featuring producer Lancecape, performing tracks from his CD entitled Always Fresh. Other artists that will be featured at the upcoming event include: Jordi La Forty, Price, Ablyss and Jixx.

The Big Ticket takes place on the second Friday of each month at The Velvet Underground, located at 510 Queen Street West in Toronto. Doors open at 9:00pm and cover will be $5.00 before 11:00pm.

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Best Of BIG TICKET Highlights Real T. Dot Hip-Hop

Posted by Chris on February 27, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 “It’s a real Hip-Hop culture vibe. It’s more about culture than trying to put people on. It really feels like Hip-Hop in the building.”

Words By. Samantha O’Connor


The monthly hip-hop hub The Big Ticket celebrated its “best of” event earlier this month at The Velvet Underground, where artists who had left a lasting impression on the city could come back and wow music lovers once again with their beats and rhymes. The night, designed for the hip-hop community, shone a light on Toronto emcees such as Perfeck Strangers, Twelfth Letter, Scott Ramirez and SepTO, who all took a turn to vibe with the packed house and celebrate the culture of rap. The beauty of The Big Ticket event is the respect it shows for the professional business of hip-hop and the art of the culture.

Tommy Spitz returned from his musical hiatus, performing alongside MC T.R.A at the talent-packed event. The self-proclaimed “top 5 in Canada” says his relationship with Big Ticket founder Chris Jackson has stretched past 20 years and that the intimate Big Ticket event acts as the summit of hip-hop culture in Toronto right now.

“[Chris has] kept a certain status with respectable artists performing. He keeps it an environment that anyone can come to. It’s a real hip-hop culture vibe. It’s more about culture than trying to put people on. It really feels like hip-hop in the building,” says Spitz.

A fresh, interactive element to the seven-month old event was added this time around. Citizen Kane’s Spade and Perfeck Stranger’s Dan-e-o interacted with the crowd to present the first ever hip-hop court, where they acted as lawyers, presenting arguments around the question of who won in the highly publicized Nas and Jay-Z beef. They used tracks such as Nas’ “Ether” and Hova’s “Takeover” in their statements and asked the audience to weigh in as the jury. Through a Twitter verdict, hip-hop heads in attendance named Nas the winner of the beef.

Interaction continued throughout the night between performers and audience members, which added an intimate feel to the event and is something KemiKAL enjoyed about performing. The young artist, who is also known as a talented producer, displayed his artistic capabilities as he performed tracks off his recently released album Elevator Music Going Up.

“A lot of artists, they don’t look at the crowd. They don’t say anything to the crowd,” he explains. “You have to give off a vibe that you’re a person like them, you’re just there to entertain for the time being. A lot of people look at it like a play and they have to come up and play their part and they have to stay in this character… and stay in this one dimension. You need to be connecting and let them feel you and let them know that you’re really doing this.”

In a short timespan, Jackson and supporters have left a profound impression on the Toronto hip-hop community, with a monthly event aimed to support local talent and bring professionalism in hip-hop to the forefront.




Posted by Chris on August 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Toronto, ON (July 23, 2012) - MotionLive in association with Cric Crac Collective proudly present the world premiere of ANEEMAH'S SPOT by Toronto spoken word poet, emcee and Playwright-in-Residence at Obsidian Theatre, Motion, as part of the SummerWorks Festival at theLower Ossington Theatre, August 9-18.  Directed by Dian Marie Bridge, and starring Araya Mengesha and Amanda Parris, ANEEMAH’S SPOT is supported by Obsidian Theatre Company, with musical direction by DJ L’Oqenz. Aneemah (a poet) and Wan (an emcee) are bought together in the hours after the funeral of their childhood friend “G.” In a theatrical remix of dialogue, rhyme and spoken word, Aneemah and Wan struggle with the untimely death, violence and imminent threats that surrounds the tragedy. In the safe house of Aneemah’s apartment, known as ‘the base,’ Aneemah and Wan are forced to challenge their pasts, face their present, and choose how they will navigate life from this moment on.

First created in Obsidian's Playwright's Unit,  ANEEMAH'S SPOT had its debut workshop production in bcurrent's 2011 Rock Paper Sistahz Festival. ANEEMAH'S SPOT now takes the next step of its journey with the world premiere at the 2012 Summerworks Festival. The Summerworks production of ANEEMAH’S SPOT stars TV/film/theatre actor Araya Mengesha (War Horse, Another Africa, Nurse.Fighter.Boy) as Wan, and playwright, performer and co-founder of Lost Lyrics Amanda Parris (32C, The Whores, A Question Remains) who plays the title character, Aneemah. About the Playwright  Motion is an award-winning emcee/poet and playwright whose work spans the realms of music, spoken word and drama. Born and  raised in Toronto, her lyrical agility has taken her from hip hop radio host to the stages of Manifesto Jamaica, Canadian Urban Music Awards (CBC), Caribbean Literary Festival, Luminato, HBO Def Poetry Jam and Africa Expo in South Africa. Dubbed by Now Magazine as a “multi-talented, truthful artist,” Motion is the author of two collections, Motion In Poetry and 40 Dayz, published by Canadian Scholars Press. Her dramatic works (4our Woman, Aneemah’s Spot, Dancing to a White Boy Song, Mo’Suite) have been featured at Obsidian and Factory theatres, Theatre Passe Muraille, Summerworks and bcurrent’s Rock.Paper.Sistahz Festival. Her play ANEEMAH'S SPOT premiers at the 2012 Summerworks Festival, and is published in Give Voice, a collection of plays from Obsidian’s Playwright’s Unit, by Playwright's Canada Press. About the Director At the helm of this production is director Dian Marie Bridge. She was an inaugural member of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Michael Langham Workshop, and intern artistic director at Obsidian Theatre. Her directing credits include the dancehall theatre work King Ah Di Dancehall (Baby Boyz Dance Group/Dance Immersion), Thank You for Carey Street Theatre and assistant directing the Mirvish Production of ’da Kink in My Hair. She is artistic producer of Cric Crac Collective, and directed ANEEMAH'S SPOT in its debut workshop production at bcurrent’s Rock.Paper.Sistahz Festival. The Creative TeamMusical direction is by acclaimed DJ L'Oqenz (Emancipation of Ms. Lovely, HeadSpace, UforChange) who designs an infectious soundtrack for the dramatic duet. Jade Lee Hoy (Hilary & Denise, Manifesto) joins as Set and Costume Designer, with Nan Sheppard as Stage Manager.Jasmine Chen and Cassy Walker join ANEEMAH'S SPOT as Associate Producer and Assistant Director.

Supported by:  Obsidian Theatre Company obsidiantheatre.com Toronto Arts Council

  MEDIA CONTACT Jasmine Chen|(416) 407-6468|

[email protected]|AneemahsSpot.comMotionLive.com

July 13 BIG TICKET review

Posted by Chris on July 30, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Hip-Hop is alive at the Big Ticket

By: Tracy Dane


Hip-Hop lives in Toronto and the Big Ticket concert and party series proved it. Premiering Friday July 13th.  Velvet Underground was the perfect setting for fresh new, underground Hip-Hop artists to come out of the woodwork and for established recording artist to give partygoers a performance to remember.

Headlining the July 13th BIG TICKET was Urbnet recording artist, Perfeck Strangers who performed songs from their chart topping debut album Series Premiere. Award winning DJ LAW kept the beats flowing, playing the best Hip Hop music and videos on the planet and the popular high-energy rapper, Tommy Spitz guest hosting for the night. Also gracing the stage that night was SepTO (TO is for Toronto!) an appearance by Jelly Too Fly and a head banging Beat Showcase by KB Tha Crazy Guy who I’m sure got the name ‘crazy’ because of the beats he produces.

Rap newcomer Jae Matic opened the Big Ticket performances; giving him his first real shot at a live performance. Jae Matic with a generous dose of lyrical twisting and tight hooks. His track For The Kids had the crowd; with its ‘Fuck You’ anthem, it was an instant hit.


SepTO was smooth as Jazz with his hypnotic Hip-Hop groove. He gave us all our favourites and included his hard-hitting new track titled “Nevera Evera”.  This artist is lyrically one of the best we have seen in a long while. Reminds us of all the great rappers, a mix between Q-Tip and Hova and I cannot wait to see him live again.  

Jelly Too Fly, a female MC, spit lyrics with a vengeance and was up to par with her male counterparts.  Her presence on stage is enhanced  by the fact that she is not on it...she had no problem getting down to the nitty gritty, when she comes off stage and rocks up close and personal with the crowd. No fear, all Swag.


The headliners of the night, Perfeck Strangers; are the Dynamic Duo of the Toronto Hip Hop scene.  Dan-e-o and Promise have stage presence to be reckoned with and spit with tenacity and vigour that made you feel like you are at the right place, at the right time.  Their style is difficult to define but you instantly know you like it. Their live show is a performance; a tightly choreographed performance. They know how to connect with the audience and they deliver as few can. A must see any time you get a chance!  


Yes, the musical line up was explosive; each performer blasted the stage with vicious energy and kept the crowd engrossed with their hard driving lyrics. It was a bit like going back in time; a time when Hip-Hop was for partygoers and talent spectators. The venue, the artist line up and the DJ were all spot-on.


With the huge success of the premier Big Ticket event, it will now happen monthly, the second Friday of each month at Velvet Underground 510 Queen St. West. The next event is Friday August 10th from 10pm until 3 am. Well-known industry mogul and Big Ticket’s creative director, Chris Jackson has arranged another stellar line up including Toronto natives Citizen Kane and Large Live ’N’ Direct from New Foundland, who I understand perform with a live band. It will be another great night of Hip-Hop and I cannot wait…


The Big Ticket series provides Toronto Hip-Hop fans, artist and music industry pros just what we need, just when our city needs it most. Toronto’s Hip-Hop scene needs more Big Ticket events, more underground Hip-Hop, more live music, more professional and polished event production, more fun and more unity. That is Hip-Hop’s roots and Big Ticket provides it in extra large doses.



Posted by Chris on July 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)



Hip Hop’s BIG TICKET Monthly, has arrived!


BIG TICKET is Hip Hop music’s great new concert series and party. Located in the heart of Toronto, BIG TICKET proudly features a thoughtful mix of top Canadian Rap artist with Canada’s fresh new promising Rap artist. It is a full night of Hip Hop music; Spinning the best of all styles all night long is multi Award Winning DJ LAW.

This is the event that the T. Dot Hip Hop scene has been seeking, begging and craving. It has finally arrived. The second Friday of every month, Velvet Underground (510 Queen St. W.) will be the host venue to this amazing event. “If your 19+ to 30+ and like Hip Hop, this is your night out.”

The event dubbed “Keep it Pro” as in “keep it professional”, is designed to give serious local and national Hip Hop artists exposure not only on the big stage but online with powerful social networking and media sites including CBC Music, CityOnMyBack, Now, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc...

“BIG TICKET is moving Hip Hop back to its roots, back to its glory and forward to the future!” CBC Hip Hop Summit producer Chris Jackson is the creative mastermind behind the monthly BIG TICKET event. With more than 25 years of experience in the Hip Hop music scene, Jackson had no doubt his unique concept would be a major success.

Premiering on Friday July 13th, headlining the BIG TICKET event was Urbnet recording artist, Perfeck Strangers who performed songs from their chart topping debut album Series Premiere. The event delivered on all its promises. Toronto’s hottest Hip Hop DJs, MCs, industry professionals, fans and party goers were in attendance.

Big Ticket’s format features 1 headliner, a support act, 2 up and coming opening acts and a guest host. As well, Big Ticket puts the spot light on producers with a 15minute beat showcase by a local producer each month.

Event producers are looking for artists, DJs, industry professionals, media reps, and the business community for their support and participation in the upcoming events.

Equipped with a big screen, this is the ideal venue for video and CD release parties and more. If you have something Hip Hop related and are looking for a venue please contact us. “We are doing this for the advancement of Hip Hop and it’s community."

To get involved with the BIG TICKET series, or for additional information please contact Chris Jackson [email protected] or [email protected] .

The Big Ticket takes place the second Friday of every month. See you there!

[email protected]



Communities Across Canada May Soon Lose Access To...

Posted by Chris on June 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Canadians who believe in public media should shape its future. You’ve taken huge strides towards that end by standing against severe cuts to the CBC. But while we continue to work to reimagine and rejuvenate the CBC, another threat to Canada’s connectivity looms: many communities may be about to have their digital lifeline severed.

Government funding cuts are forcing CBC/Radio-Canada to shut off, sell, or scrap more than 600 transmission sites currently used to give rural Canadians free access to the CBC. These sites were paid for with your taxpayer dollars, to ensure that all Canadians would be linked by the national broadcaster, regardless of their ability to pay.

Let’s call on the CBC and the CRTC to give communities access to this lifeline to the digital future of Canadian culture.

Giving local communities access to these transmission sites is a key opportunity to empower them to prioritize fair access to public media and the open Internet—two lifelines to national culture in a digital age.

Without use of CBC’s transmission sites, Canadians will need to pay Big Telecom conglomerates in order to access the CBC and the Internet, leaving them at the mercy of outrageous price-gouging.

OpenMedia.ca—one of the groups behind ReimagineCBC.ca—has been fighting for years to ensure all Canadians have access to the open Internet and diverse media. We’ve taken on Big Telecom for you, and we’ve won.

Communities who are dissatisfied with Big Telecom’s price-gouging and poor service have increasingly taken it upon themselves to build their own solutions, with the support of local governments.4,5 But if we don’t send this message to decision makers in time, our rural communities will lack crucial access to sites already paid for by taxpayers. They will lose free access to the CBC, and be forced to rebuild digital connectivity from scratch.

Let's make sure that the CBC remains free for rural communities, and that the existing infrastructure is put to good use.




You Can't Stop the Truth: The Story of the Original Founding Members of the Sugarhill Gang

Posted by Chris on March 25, 2012 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By Francesca D’Amico

When The Sugarhill Gang wrote and recorded “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979, little did they know that this single-take recording would serve as a template for establishing an audience and market for Hip Hop, and would also mark the beginning of their thirty year-long battle with contractual turmoil. This story is not new to African American artists. Rather, it has its historical antecedents in the 1920s when African American recordings first became commercially viable.

On February 16th, in its Canadian TIFF premiere, I Want My Name Back, directed by Roger Paradiso and produced by Josh Green, tells the story of the founding members of The Sugarhill Gang, Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. For years, many in the Hip Hop community knew of the controversy surrounding the group’s former third member, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, who had been labeled a plagiarist for lifting his verses directly from a rap written by Bronx emcee Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers. I Want My Name Back however complicates this story as Paradiso focuses on the wholesale exploitation of these pioneering emcees by the unscrupulous owners of the now-defunct Sugar Hill Records label, Sylvia and Joe Robinson. When Sylvia Robinson signed Wright and O’Brien in the late 1970s, the two Englewood, New Jersey rappers were young and inexperienced in contractual matters, as was the Hip Hop culture they would come to represent. Hip Hop was still a largely local and underground music that had yet to make its mark on the mainstream, and as such, record executives had no idea how lucrative its future was or how to properly compensate its artists. What follows is a 30-year long story of exploitation demonstrating that after token payouts, often in the form of cars and clothes, the group saw few royalty cheques or concert earnings. Wright and O’Brien’s label not only removed their writing credits from recordings and stole their profits and publishing rights, but trademarked the group’s name and Wright and O’Brien’s stage names, making it virtually impossible for the emcees to perform their original material when they attempted a comeback in 2005. Over the span of three decades, Wright and O’Brien would collectively earn an estimated $250,000 USD, a little less than minimum wage, while watching others impersonate them on tour.

The historical roots of this date back to the 1920s with the advent of commercially viable African American music. Major and independent record labels and publishers crassly exploited bluesmen and routinely concealed the profitability of recorded music. African American artists, who often lacked familiarity with the system of royalties distribution, were driven by necessity to accept an immediate cash payment without considering the long-term consequences. Up until 1939, it was ASCAP, a membership-driven organization, that retained a virtual monopoly on all copyright music. ASCAP, along with major record labels, spent the first half of the 20th century abandoning racial minority markets, segregating black artists from mainstream profitability, and focusing investments on the white middle-class market. As such, African American artists were routinely excluded from ASCAP’s membership and systematically denied the full benefits of collective power and copyright protection. By the mid 1950s, one of the most offensive instances of exploitation was the practice of “covering,” when majors supplied consumers with re-recordings of Rhythm and Blues records as “covered” by white artists in order to protect their financial interests. The “cover” phenomenon occurred frequently enough to confirm the suspicions that prejudice, plagiarism, and financial exploitation continued to be central factors in American recording industry practices.

In an interview with director Roger Paradiso, he argues that what makes the story of Sugarhill Gang unique is that while many African American artists have experienced this con game, Wright and O’Brien were not allowed to use their names on top of being unable to recapture their royalties. According to Paradiso, in an age of identity theft, this is a cautionary tale about two renowned artists who, “were being effectively cleansed from music history.” Consequently, I Want My Name Back tells the story of label corruption that goes deeper than what we traditionally know of the industry; it documents an instance of exploitation that has never before happened in music history, identity fraud and impersonation. Wright, a.k.a Wonder Mike, tells ActiveHistory, “to not get compensated, when there is enough money in this business,…I felt used, and no one likes to feel used. I felt taken for granted.” He describes label practices as being rotational; working on artists one at a time and then throwing them out of the studio, instead of developing all their artists at once. Wright argues that, for him, it was never about anything more than being treated fairly. “Its not a matter of greed, it’s a matter of numbers. All I want is my cut of it and no one else’s. Period,” he says.

I Want My Name Back, with its tag line “You Can’t Stop the Truth,” is a story of the human will and the power of truth to eventually unveil itself in the face of coercion. As a powerful narrative in the history of African American artistry and recording industry practices, I Want My Name Back, marks Wright and O’Brien’s ability to triumphantly take their stage-names back as well as their rightful place in Hip Hop history. While the legal battle over their group name continues, Wonder Mike and Master Gee, along with new members DJ T Dynasty and Henn Dog, continue to perform under the group name Rappers Delight. Along with Paradiso and Green, Rappers Delight will spend the coming months showcasing their film in a number of festivals, later to be followed by a European concert tour.

Francesca D’Amico is a PhD candidate in American & Cultural history at York University. Her dissertation, tentatively entitled “Fight the Power: The Socio-Political function of Black Urban Music, 1968-1996,” examines the genres of Soul, Funk and Hip Hop in the post-Civil Rights era and the role of Black Power rhetoric in the practice of cultural consciousness-raising.



Gen X - Rob Ford - Graffiti

Posted by Chris on August 11, 2011 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

 "Dad that's sooo not cool", says my 14 year old daughter as she eyes me up and down commenting on my outfit as I am about to leave the house. "Not cool", I think to myself, " how could this not be cool", checking myself out trying not to get caught checking myself out. My kids do that to me, they make me question everything and they know it.    

As I left the house I wondered, "not cool" when did I become not cool. My entire fashion life has been jeans, t-shirt and a good pair of boots, and I thought I was doing well, until now. It seemed my commitment to never wearing a suit had backfired and I was now a victim of my own rigid dogma.  

"Babe, you ok", my girlfriend interjects as I am standing at car door seemingly lost in thought, "could you open the door please". It's date night as we head out to watch a movie. "Sorry babe," I press the button and the door lock releases. As we drive to the movie, I venture out of my head and ask my girlfriend if she thinks my outfit sucks trying not seem insecure about the whole thing, upon which she points out that my outfit was fine. I sensed diplomacy was afoot but by now I was fully insecure and launched into tirade about my blunts and that they were the best pair of shoes that I have ever owned and I don't understand why everyone has to make a big deal about them. "I know that honey, But you own three pairs of the same shoe, in different colors".  Then it hit me, "I've become my father", I thought to myself. My dad, god bless him, is exactly like that. I remember as a teenager making fun of him for the exact reason that my child was now chiding me.

Generation X

That was pretty much the extent of my 40th year. The year 2010. I had essentially been an adult for 20 years with experience and memories and was now being told by my 14year old who, by the way, was wearing the same shit I used to wear when I was a teenager, that I am sooooooooo not cool. WTF.

Turning 40 in downtown G20 Toronto was crazy as both my restaurants kinda served as the border line for the crazy shit that went down. It was a pretty surreal moment as I watched 60 cops dressed in full riot gear pull up on the corner of Church and Richmond and practiced a containment drill just in case "the crazies" came that far east.  While I felt grateful for the protection I couldn't help but notice the ease at which they helped themselves to my washroom facilities, trudging through my space like gunslingers scaring the shit out of the few brave souls I did have. At this point I reflected on where I'd be if I were 20 years younger and why I wasn't out there demonstrating with them now.

Crazy is what's happening in London right now, what was happened in Toronto wasn't. We forgot that  98% of the "the crazies" were in fact average law abiding citizens expressing their right to peaceful demonstration, some of whom, were good friends of mine. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I was fine, that my core values were still intact. That's what I love about "living in the city", living in the bowels of it, where the crazy shit goes down. It keeps you relevant because you are living it, feeling it, breathing it.

I say relevant because that is one of the main issues as we get older we just don't feel like it's that important anymore to be concerned about anything else other than our mortgage, our kids, how we are going to pay for everything and that asshole at work who keeps disturbing our otherwise peaceful tranquillity. That's it. While it's natural to relate to the world differently as we get older, the world oddly enough is still pretty much the same as that of when my boomer father had inherited War and bullshit. Remember the first Live Aid concert in 1984 to save the starving children in Ethiopia? Well add Somalia and Kenya to the list in 2011. London is on fire and the rest of Europe is about to implode.

My generation living in North America, Generation X, has largely observed this phenomenon from afar in air conditioned comfort. We flip a switch and there's light as its always been, turn a tap and there's water as its always been and we want it to continue being that way.   "Been there, done that" the phraseology for perpetual boredom was coined by my generation, and the generation consumed by consumerism is about start paying penance.


In the city of Toronto, in these times of Fiscal austerity we've dealt with the situation by electing to public office  a man who supporters and non supporters alike all agree has some mental health issues.  Now Rob Ford is the Mayor of the fifth largest city in North America and a Gen Xer to boot, promising to stop the gravy train at city hall. WTF were we thinking. In truth we were not. Angry perhaps but not really cognizant of the consequences. That ocean of anger gave us the wave that is Rob Ford. He is  both the beauty and the tragedy of the democratic system. You need lemons to make lemon aid. It's lemon aid time and the beauty of the democratic system is that you only get what you ask for and in our case quite tragic.

We all know a "Rob Ford" that guy in high school you weren't so sure of, or maybe that asshole at work. Rob Ford at Toronto City Hall was the asshole at work who got the big promotion and now he will fuck over anyone who gets in his way. But life isn't junior high or is it. Recently, a friend of mine pointed out that what we witnessed in the last Mayoral election was the first in a conspiracy that began in 1995 with the Mike Harris common sense revolution. Amalgamating the city of Toronto into the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) hasn't really resulted in any savings whatsoever (ok so we got 311 to vent our frustrations). What it did change was the constituencies and that allowed for the suburbs to have a greater say in Toronto's municipal politics. As he puts it,"This is the revenge of the burbs mate, revenge of the burbs", with a decidedly English accent, "Do you know anyone who voted for Rob Ford?" My blank stare confirmed his suspicion, "There ya go, that's because you live downtown mate, it's the suburbs that elected that daft ignoramus, and now they plan to paint the city Bay-view Village Beige. Now they want me to paint over the beautiful mural that your friend painted on my garage wall, bugger". As I walked my dog through the back alley along Queen St I am reminded that I've been observing this art for nearly 20 years an art form that my generation popularized in the 80s. Popularized because Graffiti has always been around, the writing has always been done on the walls, people everywhere have risked their lives to write on the wall. People travel all over the world to take pictures of walls with strange markings. It's current form is only about 30 years old, it's Pig Latin for Artists. You know what's up when you see the walls. Galleries just don't make money from from art that belongs to everyone. Remember Art is also a business. Of late an effigy of Rob Ford popped up in the alleyway behind the restaurant on queen it's a classic.That is a piece of art that I think that everyone should see so much so I made a T-shirt of it.

The back alley along queen between Spadina and Niagra is now known as Graffiti lane and attracts tourists from all over the globe taking pictures of the art in the alley.  A few months ago I got a letter in the mail from the city advising me to  paint over my mural or they will paint it over and slap the bill on my next property tax bill. The thing is that the artist Jabari Elliot (aka Elicser) who painted that mural ten years ago now has work exhibited at the ROM in their permanent collection and is responsible for at least ten pieces in the alleyway between Spadina and Niagra. I informed the city  that the work on my wall was commissioned by me and is painted by a well known artist.

It seems I am not alone in my approach as in the past few months in my alley way alone five new murals have popped up. Threats from the city have only resulted in more murals as people pay Graffiti artists to paint murals on their walls rather than create a blank slate for taggers and declare it art.

I guess you have to live downtown to get it. The walls of the back alleys are alive with art that tells us of what's going on in the minds of next generation, they tell stories as they did before we left the caves. I was one of those kids and look how well I turned out (insert laugh here). As a Gen Xer graffiti is the art form that we invented and as I look at my 14 year old flex my old style a smile comes over me.  Maybe Rob Ford is doing the same thing, maybe he is a closet graffiti art fan after all and is conspiring to legitimize it as he is doing right now,"declare it art or I'll have my minions paint it over, heh heh heh, what do you think of that one Doug, man this Kush is strong", as he inhales in the garage.

Love is love.  


HARLEM UNDERGROUND                                                                                                                745 Queen Street West




Harlem restaurant | 67 Richmond St. East | Toronto | Ont. | Canada

Why a Hip Hop Summit

Posted by Chris on March 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On March 29th. 2011, history will be made celebrating history! Canadian Hip Hop History woth some of the biggest names in Canadian Rap music assembled on one stage, one night only.

CBC – Hip Hop Summit Concert

What It Take’s

I was inspired to produce this historical concert because I am Hip Hop and believe it’s time for people to understand the profundity of this Canadian life style and celebrate the depth of musical history we have. The motivation came from the T Dot Pioneers exhibit that ran from March-April 2010 at the Toronto Free Gallery. It became the resonance of my love and passion for this genre of music and culture.

I wanted to somehow convey the History of Canadian Hip Hop through performances displaying content from the early 80’s onward, that helped shaped what Hip Hop is today in Canada. This would create awareness for Hip Hop as a Canadian art form that really needs to be respected on the same level as any other genre of music out there.

This concert is also an outreach to a large demographic that we haven’t fully connected with and once we (CBC) do, that particular audience can connect with the brand awareness of CBC and understand that CBC is theirs and unites all.

Though things may look as if we’re coasting, it wasn’t as easy as it may have seemed to be. Right from the get-go I was challenged but yet was very determined to make something happen and it has taken almost two years for it to get to this point. I had to make a proposal displaying this idea to CBC, and from there make it all happen. Going through change after change, finding an angle for the “wow” factor, pitching the idea to artists, agents and managers, slowly getting them booked, getting into arguments with artists as well as colleagues, who are all going above and beyond. Not to mention just the general organization of it all. It was a ton of work and is definitely not a 9-5 job but in the end, it’s all worth it. The rewards are going to be historical.

It’s impossible to portray everything to everybody but this Concert and Summit is a big deal for Hip Hop in Canada. The Country’s national broadcaster is putting all of its resources together to make this Summit happen and present it to a national audience, showcasing a history and culture that is distinctively Canadian. A 100% authentic and raw is exactly what I wanted and it’s exactly what is happening.

With that all in the works, I’ve already finished planning next year’s follow up. Stay tuned for all the things that will be taking place subsequent to this.


CBC Hip Hop Summit's brain child

Posted by Chris on March 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM Comments comments (0)

The Hip Hop Summit: Celebrating a quarter-century of Canadian hip hop culture at Glenn Gould Studio FEB 24, 2011 - Almost two years ago, GGS's Chris Jackson asked his colleague; Radio Music Producer and Recording Engineer, Ron Skinner - Why we don't record and showcase more Rap music? Shortly thereafter, Jackson put forward his proposal of a Canada Live record, and the broadcast of a 'Hip Hop History' concert. Jackson had been planning to put together the event himself, yet when it was pitched to CBC Radio, the electricity of his idea was evident.

The CBC Radio music team; in particular, Ann MacKeigan, Ron Skinner and Malcolm Gould, thought an exposé on the history of Hip Hop was an excellent way to reach their listening audience. MacKeigan felt that Jackson's idea could be much bigger than just a concert, and an excellent outreach opportunity for CBC. Thus, morphed: The Hip Hop Summit. The Hip Hop Summit pays respect to Canadian Hip Hop by documenting its history through performance.Chris Jackson will be co-producing his premier concert for CBC Radio on March 29th, 2011. The concert will be live-to-air on Radio 3 and will be available as a podcast shortly following the live performance.

For more information, please go to the link below:




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