North Side Hip Hop | Spotlight
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Infinite (2011-016POS)

About the Artist

Infinite

Infinite definitely knows the art of storytelling. Once quoted by Kwame, on-air personality of the new KISS 92 FM as being, “the underground ghetto brother that just pushes it on a commercial level” his knowledge comes from the heart, which is his reality.

Infinite a.k.a. Desmond Francis, grew up in Rexdale, a low income area in Toronto by a single mother and two older brothers, one of whom was murdered in 1995. Shortly after this tragic event, he left his 1995/ 1996 Juno Award winning group Ghetto Concept. Starting at a young age, Infinite was continually exposed to the negative street environment. But now he strives to educate the new breed of youth by turning negative into positive.

Artistic ability and new flavour are the rules that Infinite and brother Cain, C.E.O. of his label Lockdown Entertainment Inc. abide by to create rap music on a new level. They are constantly striving to lead the independent record market to major record label status, i.e. video “Gotta Get Mine” which raised the standards of urban video quality and recognition by commercial radio stations.

The Beatfactory/EMI RapEssentials: Volume 2 wisely chose “Gotta Get Mine” as the first single off the compilation, catapulting Infinite into the North American spotlight. “Gotta Get Mine” rang in at an incredible number 17 on Energy 108 top 108 of 1997. Infinite has been selected as the spokesperson for “Chill Out”, a clothing drive for the homeless, in which the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors are sponsors. He has also made a host appearance on MuchMusic’s Rap City as well as performing along side Bob Marley’s band, The Wailers on MuchMusic’s Da Mix, Black History Month discussion panel.

Infinite has most certainly been a consistent and outstanding artist in the Canadian music scene. Although “360 degrees” was chosen as the lead off single from the EP, Lockdown produced a video for every original track on the album. All five videos received substantial rotation on MuchMusic. Infinite toured with LL Cool J during the summer of 1998 which was sponsored by Fubu. Infinite also makes an appearance in LL Cool J’s upcoming film “In Too Deep”(starring Omar Epps, scheduled for release August 25, 1999).

Infinite was chosen by CapCom Japan which is the guru of video game makers to record voice-overs as well as the game soundtrack for the Street Fighter, “3rd Strike” game. The game was released in Japanese arcades May 1999. On June 30, 1999 he performed on the new KISS 92 FM CN Towers launch “Da Vibe in da Sky” live to air event.

“Take a Look” accomplished the feat of being the first single off the BMG distributed album RapEssentials: The Rebirth, helping the compilation sell more than 5, 000 copies in its first week. The four minute fully animated video for “Take a Look” was well embraced by the MuchMusic staff. The video was immediately placed in heavy rotation, once again setting new standards for urban music. “Take a Look” was charted on MuchMusic’s Rap City Top 5 for 6 weeks during June and July 1999, holding down the number one position for three consecutive weeks. Infinite’s performance at the 1999 NXNE showcase helped to highlight Canada’s urban independent music scene. On June 11, 1999, Infinite was one of the featured acts in the Toronto Sun (circulation 1 million) coverage of NXNE.

All of the songs from the album “360 degrees” contain clean and clear themes that are globally understandable. This EP has sold more than 5, 000 copies in less than 12 months without the help of a major distribution company, and it is still selling. With the album “360 degrees” Infinite has developed a Canadian wide fan base which we know will find the new album (due out late 1999) even more “Sicc” which will be the first single from the album “Critical Path”.

Twice within the week of August 8, 1999, Infinite graced the cover of the Life-Entertainment section of the Toronto Star (circulation 1.6 million) in a fully explored four page article. Check out the September edition of Rap Pages (a L.A. based urban magazine which has international distribution) where you will find a great article in the About 2 Blow section (page 168), depicting more of Infinite’s upcoming endeavors.

Infinite’s solo artistic endeavors have been rewarded with numerous awards an nominations including; winner of MuchMusic’s Best Hip Hop Video 1997, Canadian Urban Music Awards Best Hip Hop Video and Best Director 1997, Mic Check Magazines Best Rap Video 1997 and a nomination for 1997 Juno award for Best Rap Recording. In 1999, “Take a Look” was nominated for the Canadian Urban Music Award for Best Music Video.

 

by: Tru Daley

DJ Dopey – World DMC Champion (2003-002POS)

In 2003 Canada would once again take home the World DMC title. This time DJ Dopey of the Turntable Monks took the title in a spectacular routine in which Dopey transformed the turntable into a drum! After winning the 2003 DMCs, Dopey was awarded gold the turntables and a gold mixer shown in the picture above. Dopey’s other awards include:

1999-2001 Toronto DMC Regional Champ

1999 & 2000 ITF Toronto Advancement Champ

2001 & 2002 Vestax Canadian Champ

2001 Allies All-Star Beatdown Champ

2002 & 2003 DMC Canadian Champ

2002 DMC Worlds 3rd place

Check out the World Champion below!

 

 

 

Choclair Goes Gold (2000-001POS)

chocs gold

CRIA Certified Gold Plaque for Choclair’s Ice Cold
2000
photograph by Rinaldo Javier
donated by Ice
words by DJ Grumps

On November 2, 1999, Toronto Emcee Choclair released his debut album, Ice Cold on Virgin Records in Canada.  In March of 2000 Choclair released Ice Cold in the United States to critical acclaim.  Four years prior in 1995, Choclair released his first 12 inch single, “21 years” on Kneedeep Records gaining a solid following with follow up joints, “Just a Second” and “What does it Take” featuring Jully Black. In 1997, Choclair was featured in the ‘Unsigned Hype’ column in the hugely popular (at the time) U.S. hip hop magazine the Source, further solidifying his popularity beyond Canadian borders.  Choclair made history by debuting at #10 on the Soundscan chart, the highest debut of a Canadian hip hop album.  Within 35 days of its release Ice Cold had gone gold, selling more than 50,000 units.

The plaque in this image was awarded to Duane Watson, a former label representative. Importantly, many individuals contributed to the signing and eventually major label success of Choclair.  Prior to the release of Ice Cold many labels were not convinced of the market viability of hip hop music in Canada. It took the work of industry insiders like Russ Hegert, Big C, Sweets, Ice, several community radio shows and street teams to dramatically change the music landscape and ensure major record labels invested in hip hop music and culture.

Butcher T (2010-036POS)

 

Butcher T brought New York style hip hop DJing to Montreal, and provided musical accompaniment on Canada’s first urban music radio show alongside Michael Williams on CKGM’s Club 980 in Montreal.

“A friend of mine named Andrew Carr (the nephew of Howard ‘Stretch’ Carr) is from New York, and he used to come down to Montreal in the summertime. He was the one that introduced me to hip hop, and in the early 80’s, he was the one who said I had to check out the way the DJs in New York were playing the beats and breaks, using two records to extend the breakbeat. Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster D.S.T. were the ones to watch at the time. I remember the main beat was Billy Squier’s “Big Beat” and Chic’s “Good Times” break. At the time I only had a Lloyd system with one turntable, a radio tuner and a 8-track cassette deck, so I hooked up another cassette recorder and I would record the breakbeat, pause it, pull the record back and record it again, and I would do this over and over to extend the beat. My friend used to say “you’re a butcher!” and that’s how the name Butcher T came about. I would put these tapes on a (boom)box, go down to the park and let people hear my work. I had a lot of the records, like the James Brown stuff and a lot of rock records actually, but I remember going to buy Grace Jones and bunch of music that I didn’t have. I never had them all. Eventually I got two Pioneer turntables, a mixer, and started to practice, and along the way I got the knack of things. I started doing house parties on the South Shore in Chateauguay where I met up with a guy named Shan Wan. He was Trinidadian but very Americanized, and asked if he could get on the mic. I said yes, and when I would do my thing extending the beat and doing my little ‘ziggz-zigga’ scratches, he would come in rapping–right on time! It was all about the rapper and the DJ playing together, and it was only because I was going back and forth to New York that I was able to bring that style to Montreal. That’s how they did it, and we were doing it too. As these parties started to pick up and I got more popular, DJ Ray, who I had known for a long time but never associated with, started to get on the mic with me too. Shan Wan and DJ Ray both knew Michael Williams and would sometimes rap on tracks recorded for his radio show, so they took me to the station and introduced me to him. We hooked up good, he liked the style that I was playing which was a mix of rap, r n’b, disco and some other stuff. I ended up joining him on the Club 980 show on CKGM, and used to do master-mixes for the show. Mike ended up applying for a job at Muchmusic when it was first starting out in Toronto, and he got the job of course. When he wasn’t there I was mixing the shows and getting on the mic in his place. On Club 980 you had rap, r n’b and funk, reggae and more from 6 p.m. to midnight on a Saturday night. There were no other stations that were giving you six hours of urban music in the city. Mike Williams was traveling back and forth from Montreal to Toronto holding down both jobs for a while, and I was still DJing on Club 980 every week, but eventually CKGM turned the page on the format that we had enjoyed for so long. Here in Montreal, I’ve always just done my own thing, and I’ve always been known for playing different stuff, and even though I was given a Stylus DJ achievement award back in 2006, I’m still just doing my thing.”

Inteviewed by: Scott C


War Party (2010-037POS)

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