Exhibitions » Season 6 (2009-2010) » T-Dot Pioneers

T-Dot Pioneers

An interactive community timeline designed to engage members of the hip hop community in documenting their own histories.

Exhibition Dates: March 4 – April 18 2010 Opening Reception: March 4 at 6pm - 12 am.

Toronto Free Gallery, Northsidehiphop.ca and The Bigger Than Hip Hop Show are proud to present:

‘T-DOT PIONEERS’ COORDINATED BY MARK CAMPBELL (DJ GRUMPS)

T-DOT PIONEERS’ is an exhibition and series of panel discussions capturing over 30 years of hip hop history in Toronto. This exhibition also coincides with the launch of Nothsidehiphop.ca, an online resource cataloguing Canadian hip hop history and culture.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS:
Opening Reception of “T-Dot Pioneers” and Key Note address by K-Force, MC and originator of the term ‘T-Dot’:
Thursday March 4th 2010, 4pm-12am

“Where the ladies @?” Panel and Discussion:
Saturday March 6th 2010, 2pm – 5pm

“When Rappers Used to Dance: An exploration of hip hop history and its progression as a culture” Panel and Discussion:
Saturday March 27th 2010, 2pm-5pm

Tdot Pioneers is a collaborative project that explores the key elements of Toronto hip hop culture and aims to begin a conversation around historical moments in the Toronto hip hop scene. Toronto’s hip hop culture has a rich background, as it was an integral testing ground for new material from industry legends like Africa Bambatta, Grandmaster Flash, RUN DMC, and even DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Exhibition coordinator Mark Campbell, also known as DJ Grumps, has spent over ten years promoting hip hop culture through his YORK U radio show the “Bigger than Hip Hop” show, which is also the lead presenter of the website and exhibit.

The goal of this exhibition is to illuminate and archive these hidden histories while also providing a foundation for young people to have a link to the history and culture of hip hop as a major force in the actualization of personal voice and social advocacy.

The exhibition features an interactive community timeline designed to engage members of the hip hop community in documenting their own histories. To breathe live into Canada’s hidden hip hop histories, the Toronto launch of the site will exhibit several artifacts and memorabilia directly from the collections of hip hop’s central figures. By ‘tagging the timeline’ these innovative artists also become documentarians and historians of their own bodies of work. Tdot Pioneers also features rare audio footage from community radio shows, archival video from bboy battles, and artifacts, with visual innovations by Toronto graffiti artists Skam and Elicser.

ABOUT THE WEBSITE:
Northsidehiphop.ca, an online resource cataloguing Canadian hip hop history and culture will launch on March 4th, 2010 with the hip hop exhibit “T-Dot Pioneers”, an exploration of Toronto’s hip hop history at Toronto Free Gallery from March 4th, 2010 closing April 18th, 2010. First ever of it’s kind, northsidehiphop.ca will be home to a collection of artifacts and multimedia memorabilia such as early vinyl recordings, artwork, performances and literature produced by Canadian hip hop artists and enthusiasts going as far back as the early 80’s and highlighting contributions from across Canada. Now, a global force, the origins of Hip Hop’s international expansion can be found in Canada in the mid 1980s. Northsidehiphop.ca is a living archive, capturing the obscured histories that have made hip hop in Canada an enduring and dynamic force from Halifax to Vancouver. Northsidehiphop.ca is meant to foster a national pride around Canadian hip hop culture, a task made increasingly difficult due to foreign media domination in Canada.

HIP HOP DIALOGUE EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
In addition to the exhibit, a series of free events and panel discussions will take place over the month to inspire dialogue and build awareness of the contributions made by immigrants and marginalized communities within the hip hop industry and Canada as a whole. Panels led by International recording artist Michie Mee, Jeni of Flow 93.5, and urban radio show OTA Live host, Ty Harper, will look at topics such as women in the hip hop industry and the role of dance in hip hop. A schedule of the events taking place at Toronto Free Gallery over the month of March is as follows:

Opening Reception of “T-Dot Pioneers” and Key Note address by K-Force, MC and originator of the term ‘T-Dot’:
Thursday March 4th 2010, 4pm-12am

“Where the ladies @?” Panel and Discussion:
Saturday March 6th 2010, 2pm – 5pm

“When Rappers Used to Dance: An exploration of hip hop history and its progression as a culture” Panel and Discussion:
Saturday March 27th 2010, 2pm-5pm

MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Northsidehiphop.ca and Tdot Pioneers Backgrounder

Emerging out of the rumble that was the South Bronx in the 1970s, the cultural phenomenon now known as hip hop is clearly a defining feature of this generation. Despite its current multi-billion dollar yield, hip hop’s humble origins reveal much of its revolutionary potential and appeal. At a time when youth unemployment rates, particularly for young Puerto Ricans and African Americans, topped the 60% mark, the ingenuity of hip hop’s open-air makeshift recreational centres literally saved a generation in the 1970s.

Much has been written about the meteoric rise of hip hop in America, from George Nelson’s early work to Jeff Chang’s recent Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation. In contrast, very little has been written about or documented when it comes to hip hop in Canada. As early as the first half of the 1980s, hip hop music and culture could be found in parts of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In roller skating rinks, rented halls and on community radio stations, hip hop was taken up, mostly, but not exclusively by young Caribbean newcomers. On CKLN’s “The Fantastic Voyage Show” in Toronto and on CKGM’s “Club 980” in Montreal, hip hop received airplay alongside rhythm and blues, funk and reggae. Importantly, Toronto and Montreal became key testing ground of new material for American hip hop artists, ranging from L.L. Cool J to Public Enemy.

Northsidehiphop.ca is an attempt at documenting and archiving the many oral histories that best capture the essence of hip hop’s youthful exuberance in the 1980s. By digitizing oral histories, event flyers, posters and analog recordings, northsidehiphp.ca takes seriously the accomplishments and hidden histories of Canadian hip hopper and is interesting in providing resources for a new generation. The beauty of hip hop culture has been its ability to provide outlets for self-expression, artistic ingenuity, consciousness-raising and personal development. In effect, T-Dot Pioneers is an exhibition interested in illuminating Toronto’s rich hip hop history so as to provide tools for future generations to explore identity, social awareness and the aesthetic ingenuity that is hip hop culture.

The Bigger than Hip Hop Show is a weekly community radio show aired on CHRY 105.5fm in Toronto. On the air since 1998, the Bigger Than Hip Hop Show runs primarily, but not exclusively, underground hip hop from all across the globe and represents Canadian hip hop to the fullest. The show consists of DJ Jake d’Snake, Mr. Grumpy (aka DJ Grumps), DJ/MC Roach Uno and DJ Spontaneus. The show airs Thursdays at midnight (eastern standard time) and can be heard on the internet on www.chry.fm.