ARTICLE: A Hip-Hop Oral History of The Concert Hall (Now Magazine)

Ty Harper | Community,Editorial,Interviews,Music | Monday, June 12th, 2017

Now Ron Nelson

Lots of great stuff in this piece, but I think it’s important to think about how we respond to media coverage like this. I know the immediate feeling we have when we see one-off articles like this is ecstatic elation. But that’s only because we’ve been STARVING for our history. A history Toronto and Canadian media continue to erase through their privilege, their ignorance and arrogance.

Think about it: if someone had the power to deprive you of water, food and the necessities of life you rightfully deserve, what would be the appropriate way to respond to them when they randomly decide to feed you some scraps?

“Toronto’s Apollo,” “a mini-Caribana,” “the matriarch” of Toronto’s hip-hop scene.

Storied live music venue the Concert Hall is most often associated with 60s rock acts like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. In the 70s, 80s and 90s it was the place to see punk, new wave, funk, dancehall, reggae and grunge.

Much less talked about in mainstream media is the pivotal role the 100-year-old venue at 888 Yonge played in laying the foundation for Toronto’s currently thriving hip-hop scene.

In the 80s and early 90s, hip-hop parties were dispersed around suburban neighbourhoods in community halls, schools, basements and rental places. The crowds and musicians were young, primarily Black first- and second-generation Canadians. But as the scene grew, the venue housed in the centrally located Masonic Temple at Yonge and Davenport became hip-hop’s mecca.

EVENT: Manifesto 11 | Majid Jordan x The Internet x Sean Leon x Tika and more | This Saturday

Ty Harper | Community,Contests,Events,Music,News | Friday, June 9th, 2017


Great weekend weather for a great lineup all going down tomorrow at Echo Beach!
There’s also a buy three get one free promotion with this event.
More events and party info @

INTERVIEW: VIEWS B4 THE 6: Mastermind PART 1 (audio stream)

Ty Harper | Audio,Community,Interviews,Music | Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Tweeze and Thrust go deep on the history of Mastermind, one of the city’s most important hip-hop radio and mixtape deejays.

INTERVIEW: Clifton Reddick on new book Toronto Sound Vol. 1 (w/ The Comeup Show)

Ty Harper | Audio,Community,Music | Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Important convo with Battle of The Beatmaker founder Clifton Reddick about his new book “Toronto Sound Vol. 1”

This week, we interviewed Clifton Reddick, founder of Battle of the Beat Makers, to talk about his new book Toronto Sound Vol. 1. Clifton used his experience from creating BBM, a global competition for producers that have birthed superstars like Grammy Award Winner Boi-1da, WondaGurl, and T-Minus. Spanning over the course of 30 years, Clifton (also known as KLFTN) compiled his experiences in a book for all producers to read in order to better understand the evolution of Hip-Hop in Toronto.

In our talk, Clifton gave us a short history lesson on the evolution of Toronto’s Hip-Hop Scene. He told us about the rise of Drake and Boi-1da and many other great Toronto producers that came out of BBM, how BBM got started, and why it’s important for there to be a platform for producers. Below is an excerpt from our talk, play the podcast to hear more.


Ty Harper | Audio,Community,Music | Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

King Reign

King Reign!

The first time I heard about you, you were working with Mr. Murr and I came to check you at an event your cousin Wan put together. From that performance alone I knew you were no joke! The next time we connected was when you dropped “Lookin For Love” with Darp Malone (geez!). By that time I was doing O.T.A. Live! on Flow and so I reached out…. you came through, and we put together a nice short piece about the inspiration for that song. You did a guest Cell Therapy feature on the show and told Toronto about the connections between Trinidad’s extempo traditions and freestyle rap.

Then I found out your uncle was MR. MANSWELL?!!

Mr. Manswell was one of many Black-Caribbean men that kept a lot of us Scarborough boys out of trouble through soccer. And I realized then, that your family’s roots run deep in our community (still learning just how deep!).

So your intelligence, demeanor… your energy on the mic….. it all made sense.
All this just to say.. you mattered to me.

My sincerest condolences go out to your family and loved ones.

I’ll do my best to make sure you are remembered… and your children know that their father was respected and admired by many.

Rest in peace, and power, with my love, and the love of your communities.

Ty Harper

EVENT: R.I.S.E. Edutainment presents John River x Esie Mensah x pHoenix Pagliaaci x Adria Kain + more!

Ty Harper | Community,Concerts,Events,Music,News,Video | Saturday, December 12th, 2015

A couple years ago when I was at MTV News I got word of an open mic initiative in Malvern getting a lot of attention. It was called R.I.S.E. and run entirely by young kids from the area. One of those kids was Randell Adjei and I would end up producing a profile on him and how he started the initiative with his friends and peers. This Monday will be R.I.S.E’s last event of the year. If you haven’t been to a R.I.S.E. event yet, this would be a good opportunity to check it out. Guest performers include John River, Esie Mensah, pHoenix Pagliacci, Adria Kain, Brooke Jean, Tuggstar, Wolf J, YHW, C-Flava, Te Holder and Zakisha Brown.

Shouts to Randell and the whole R.I.S.E team. What they’re doing over there is great. I wish I had something like this to look forward to when I was coming up in Malvern.

It all goes down Monday December 14th at 1081 Progress Ave. Show starts at 7:30pm

EVENT: The HEARD presents “SAWUBONA” (Black Canadian Photographer Exhibit) – This Sunday @ 842 College St.

Ty Harper | Artwork,Community,Events,Music | Saturday, August 15th, 2015


Shouts to Jalani for keeping me in the loop on this, looks like it’ll be a dope event!


The HEARD is a live concert & art gallery that takes place on the Third Sunday of every month, featuring Canada’s most talented poets, singers, emcees, visual artists & entertainers.

This month we chose to honour the legacy and work of the talented black Canadian photographers in this city we call home.

Exhibit Curated by:
SoTeeOh & Jalani Morgan

Featured Headliners:
Matthew Progress
Adria Kain
Waleed Abdulhamid

Performances by:
La Rose
Patrick Walters
+ Exciting surprises

House Band: Charleston Relay
Music by: DJ Afroditee & DJ Soulchild

We’ve found the sweet-spot, in between classy event curation and creative art performance and we’re excited to establish “The Heard” as a place Toronto can be proud of, and can rely on to produce magical and memorable moments.

What to expect:

A thought-provoking, entertaining, passion-filled night of performance, photography and soulfulness.
Food that makes you want to go back to school.
Vibes that will have you dancing in your sleep, fam.

Dress Code:
Come as you are, feel you, you’re beautiful.

$15.00 advance tickets
$20.00 at the door

More Info:
Phone: 416.451.8680


EDITORIAL: NOISEY presents “An Insider’s Look In: Examining the real value of Toronto’s rap scene” (written by Ian Kamau)

Ty Harper | Community,Editorial,Music,News | Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Ian Kamau 567

Great critical piece about the undervaluing of our local hip-hop scene and the role that has played in its economic/industry shortcomings, written by Ian Kamau and currently up on Vice/Noisey.


A few weeks ago I read an article that addressed a statement made by Drake in a short promotional documentary which features the Toronto rapper. In the commercial Drake confidently encourages emerging artists to “do it from where you’re at!” This statement grabbed my attention, partly because I think it’s an important one, and partly because I am an rapper born and raised in Toronto. Although the statement has some merit to it, it isn’t totally true. Yes, the Internet has changed the music industry completely by providing an opportunity for international exposure where at one point there was nothing. Artists like Shi Wisdom, Jazz Cartier and Daniel Caesar (currently some of my favorites from Toronto) have all used the Internet to build their audience locally and internationally. However, Drake’s statement is oversimplified and doesn’t take into account the labyrinth of gatekeepers, relationships, and power dynamics in the music industry as a whole, and the lack of accessible music infrastructure in Canada specifically.

Read the full piece @


RALLY: Black Lives Matter Toronto – Day of Action: Justice for Andrew Loku & Jermaine Carby! Today @ 5pm @ Eglinton Gilbert Parkette

Ty Harper | Community,Events,News | Monday, July 27th, 2015

Andrew Loku

The highly questionable and tragic killings of Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby by Toronto police are just two of the more recent incidents that inform the city’s Black communities’ turbulent relationship with the TPS. The Toronto chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement are holding a rally today to bring awareness to the need for more accountability, transparency, diligence and action from our law enforcement agencies and political institutions.

From Black Lives Matter Toronto:

Members of the Black community and their allies will hold a public protest at the Eglinton-Gilbert Parkette demanding justice for community members who have been victims of police brutality. The rally was called by Black Lives Matter-Toronto, who are specifically calling for justice for Jermaine Carby and Andrew Loku, both of whom are Black men who were slain by police in the Greater Toronto Area.

What: Rally demanding justice for Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby

Where: Eglinton Avenue and Gilbert Street Parkette- 504 Gilbert Ave

When: Monday, July 27th 2015

Time: 5:00 p.m.

Black Lives Matter-Toronto have delivered these demands to the Mayor of Toronto and Chief Police Saunders:

  1. The immediate release of the name(s) of the officers that killed Andrew Loku & Jermaine Carby.
  2. Charges to be laid against the officers who killed Mr. Loku and Mr. Carby.
  3. A confirmation that the police officers who killed Mr. Loku and Mr. Carby are off the streets.
  4. The immediate and public release of any video footage from the apartment complex where Andrew Loku was murdered.
  5. A date, no longer than four weeks, confirming when the SIU will conclude an initial investigation.
  6. Monetary compensation for the families of Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby.


Black Lives Matter-Toronto is the Toronto chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, an international organization and movement fighting anti-Black racism all over the world.

For further information: For inquiries, contact Sandy Hudson at or 416-722-8842.

EVENT: The Gift Of Music 2014 feat. JRDN, August Rigo, Leila Dey, King Reign, Kim Davis + more (Dec. 9th @ The Hard Rock Cafe)

Ty Harper | Community,Concerts,Events,Music | Monday, December 8th, 2014


Nice lineup for Gift Of Music 2014. JRDN, Leila Dey, August Rigo, The Flan, King Reign Falana + Kim Davis, who’ll also be co-hosting with Kid Kut, with music provided by Jester. The event/initiative is also celebrating its 5 year anniversary.

Full details @


Next Page » Powered by WordPress | Theme edited by Karla "hustleGRL" Moy | Contact us: