Recently, I’ve tried to wrap my brain around words. Words that incite violence, words that evoke fear, and words that hurt. Late last month, the infamous Donald J. Trump put words of hate and distrust into an executive order that potentially would change the face of world travel. Meanwhile, in the sports arena words were being exchanged between another infamous talker and a current superstar — Charles Barkley and LeBron James. This exchange struck a chord with me.
The dust has finally settled on the Toronto Raptors 2015/16 season. With everything said and done within this tumultuous campaign, the Raps remained relevant well into May. It’s the month usually relegated to pre-draft preparations, murmurs of firing the head coach and potential off-season free agent acquisitions. This spring, however, proved to be one of excitement and intrigue in the 6ix.
By definition, the word gentrification describes the process of renewing and rebuilding by infusing the affluent, or middle-class, into a deteriorating urban area, thereby displacing its own residents. Such is the case of Toronto’s Regent Park, where, since 2005 residents have been slowly ushered out of their dwellings to make way for the “New Toronto” order, like Tory Lanez would say.
The sweltering and unrelenting heat of the beautiful twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago juxtaposed itself as the backdrop of my Super Bowl weekend. The soundtrack: hard-driving, fast-paced Afro-Indo influenced soca music – the driving force of carnival season. Unlike hip-hop, soca is one genre seemingly oblivious to one of the most important sports weekends in North America.
There are only a few rappers that motivate me. The list is fairly short. That’s not to say that rappers not mentioned aren’t in heavy rotation on my playlist. There’s more to it.
Nas, Jadakiss, Tupac, Jay Z and B.I.G. have an uncanny way of elevating my mind state, while removing me from the social confines that life’s daily nuances and mellow-dramatic subplots may provide.
As the son of a first generation Trinidadian Canadian, born in the concrete suburbia of Toronto, I was raised in an era where the NHL’s hapless Toronto Maple Leafs struggled to maintain competitive relevance and where the Edmonton Oilers wielded insurmountable dominance.
One of the most recognizable baselines in hip-hop history is Special Ed’s (pictured in column artwork) wildly famous, head-nodding late ’80s anthem “I Got It Made”. When he told us he was our “Idol, the highest title, numero uno,” we took his word for it, and allowed him to make that claim.