If You Ain’t Liking Urban Music, You Ain’t No Friend Of Mine

The irony is unmatched, eh?

Canadian hip hop, r&b, soul, spoken word, beats, rap and all other sub-genres of urban music got a huge break Sunday at the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, BC.

Tory Lanez couldn’t have planned it better if he tried. Due to his absence at the awards show, Rascalz, Thrust, Checkmate, Kardinal and Choclair busted into “Northern Touch” in an impromptu self-proclaimed “takeover” of the JUNOS. This, much to the likely chagrin of the brass (and my parents) was a very radical and much needed shakeup in the musical landscape. I think is sad that a nation so proud of its heritage, proud of its diversity and proud of acceptance still has “-gasp- moments” when a group of artists take the microphone and lay down the facts like they did last night…

Its 2018. Let’s get real. Urban music is very much a part of our national identity and because of the talents that took the chance at the shake up last night, we are leaders in the urban space. Much love. Much respect. You’re true foot soldiers. We need more of that.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of these legends of Canadian Hip Hop, Kardinal Offishall this winter, when he hosted an event at NMC, interviewing another leader in the World Music genre, fellow Calgarian, Raghav.

Kardinal is hilarious, classy and it’s great to see him continue to give back to the music community and really help to continue to grow the hip hop movement.

So yeah. I wanted to not just base my argument solely off of opinion, even though I know a lot more than the ignorant, culturally narrowed-minded opposition… so here are three of my favourite arguments to counter those who deny urban music and its legitimacy in the industry.

1. “Rap is not music.”

Oh, is that so? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition music is:vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony.

So if you believe rap is not music, you would be incorrect.

They tie lyrics together in multiple rhythms and rhyme schemes to a beat generally, but not always. Case closed.

2. “Rap Artists have no talent.”

Have you ever tried to fit 14 syllables into one sentence and line it up like poetry and craft stories around your experience?

No? Still not sold?

Okay. Watch this then – The Greatest Rhymers of All Time

3. “It’s just a bunch of gangster noise”

Awfully insecure, ignorant and insensitive, don’t you think? Here, watch this clip and tell me urban music hasn’t moved entire political, socio-economic and popular culture agendas. Straight Outta Compton – trailer

Urban music is charged by emotion. Rhythmically, lyrically and ingeniously it is an art form simply reserved for an elite class of forward thinking artists. Sure, there are some pretty shitty artists out there, like any industry. But generally speaking, the urban scene, especially in Canada is alive and well.

I find that most people fear change. These are typically the same people that horde, and share an incredibly narrow focused belief system about how the ways things are.

We fear what we don’t know.

And a lot of people don’t know urban music, hip hop and the like…

Tonight’s takeover was a huge step in alleviating that fear.

Thank you, Kardinal et al.

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