Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Love, Props and the T.Dot is a documentary that quickly (approx. 45 minutes) covers the first 25 years of hip-hop in Toronto. Although I’m not an expert on the Canadian hip-hop scene (my first Canadian hip-hop album was the Rascalz 1997 release Cash Crop), it goes without saying that anytime 25 years have to be whittled down to 45 minutes some things are going to be missed, and while I’m sure a host of artists may be upset they weren’t represented, this documentary seems like a good starting point, at the very least, for someone who wants to know more about the foundation of Canadian hip-hop, specifically in Toronto.
Some of the most interesting information in the film includes how artists had to go to America, or overseas, to get the props and/or sales they deserved back home, the impact of college radio, which almost mirrored the impact of college radio in the US, and the fact that Tom Green was in a group that played a role in the development of Canadian hip-hop. Yes, that Tom Green.
The idea of needing to go elsewhere to get respect is something that's seen a lot in today's American underground hip-hop scene, with many artists making more money, and drawing significantly bigger crowds, when they travel outside of the US. Perhaps no matter where an artist is from they're always going to have a hard time being appreciated in their home area.
There’s a strange internal issue that becomes a bit of an underlying theme throughout the documentary with Canadian artists wanting to be better than their US counterparts, but also defining a lot of their success by US standards, i.e. signing a deal with a US label, getting a video on BET, being recognized by US artists. I would have liked to have seen this resolved, if possible, or at least addressed.
The lone error I found in the documentary was the idea that the late 90s were the worst time for the music industry. Last time I looked record sales were at record highs up until the mid 2000s.
All in all, if you enjoy hip-hop, and want a brief history of how the rap aspect of it developed in Canada, this is worth a watch. Check it out below, and click the full screen option as it was made for TV, not YouTube.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.