EDITORIAL: Toronto Hip Hop vs. The Toronto Media by Addi "Mindbender" Stewart

hyperadmin | Editorial | Monday, March 21st, 2011


Been feeling this way about NOW for years now so thanks to Mindbender for being the right person (he worked there and has written many articles for them) at the right time (now – no pun intended) to say something about it. Via FB.

Toronto Hip Hop vs. The Toronto Media – 2011: The Year Things Must Change Around Here

To NOW Magazine,

It’s time to go Tim Perlich on your music department. The incomprehensible void that represents your hip hop coverage needs to be addressed immediately. On the cover of your otherwise respectable and insightful publication, it says “Everything Toronto”. I emphatically challenge this claim on the grounds that, for months upon months, NOW Magazine’s support of the industry-standard-setting, world-class hip hop community has gone criminally unrecognized and disrespectfully ignored. There is no justification for not giving a drop of ink to virtually ANY of the rap artists or events in Toronto. On every level, you are failing local and international hip hop, week after week. You’ve had almost no hip hop event reviews, when Royce the 5’9″, Rah Digga, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey (J. Dilla’s mother!), Black Sheep, Buckshot, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Canibus, Jeru the Damaja, Ernie Paniccioli, Joe Budden and many more have all been here in the past two months. You’ve had almost no local album reviews, when D-Sisive, Rich Kidd, Empire, Cadence Weapon and other Canadian acts have released so much great music lately (at least you didn’t miss Buck 65). And you haven’t done an interview on a local hip hop artist/event in who knows how long. When the KOTD Rap Battle League has been featured on MTV, spans 5 cities across Canada, has millions of YouTube views, and has featured MCs from New York, California, Miami, and the UK, why have you never once featured KOTD in NOW? The same questions linger for ‘The Ultimate MC’ Freestyle contest on AUXTV, hosted by Bishop Brigante, now underway in 4 different Canadian cities. Your lack of support for our city’s hip hop scene is completely unacceptable, and on behalf of the community, I request you immediately improve your coverage. If you can critically assess society on every level, you must allow yourself to be critically assessed.

The most egregious example of your music department’s glaring flaws is found in this week’s CMW wrap-up. You review only the Jay Electronica concert, when CMW 2011 featured a few other hip hop acts (R.A. the Rugged Man, Angerville, Unknown Mizery, Mayhem Morearty, Made Wade, Magnum K.I., etc.). Yet your most blatant omission came when you failed to even do a concert review of your coveted cover story from last week, Janelle Monae. How she can headline a show with new school Canadian rap legend Shad K at the Royal York Hotel and you not have a writer there (to try and describe her phenomenal, sold-out concert’s Cirque du Soleil-like surreality) is beyond journalistic failure. And finally, Drake is the host of the upcoming Juno Awards here in Toronto at the Air Canada Center, and it would be a perfect opportunity to finally interview to him… if your music editor thought it was a story worth writing about. I would have been honored to do a “Mindbender Interviews Drake” article for you, and I think it would have been excellently received, like my RZA or Nas interviews were, or my 5-page “Representing the T-Dot” piece was. But my repeated offers to forget the unjust dismissal I received from the music editor a few years ago and continue to write for the magazine have been met with further rejection. I am STILL open to look past the problems and be part of the solution. I know what needs to be done, and I keep trying do my part to help around here… but there are people with power in entrenched positions in this city who don’t care to evolve the state of business and industry in our stifled city, and that’s why we are perpetually stuck in the same place, if not moving backwards, in our attempts to become the globally-respected musical mecca Toronto has had the potential to be for so very, very long.

Straight up and down: Toronto is arguably the best hip hop city in the world in 2011… but you wouldn’t know it by reading NOW. Don’t worry though, you are certainly not the only media outlet not supporting Canadian hip hop. But you used to be the best, so you must be held accountable first. I hope this laissez-faire attitude towards a huge segment of Toronto culture changes immediately, because you are missing out on nothing less than music world history unfolding by sleeping on Toronto hip hop in 2011.

If you need help from the hip hop community, we would be happy to provide it to you. All you need to do is accept it.

in love and honesty:

sincerely yours truly,

Addi “Mindbender” Stewart

No Comments »

  1. […] (via City On My Back) Share this: […]

    Pingback by Open Letter: Toronto Hip-Hop v. the Toronto Media (by Addi “Mindbnder” Stewart) | The Ashcan — March 21, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  2. BIG article Addi. Thoughtfully presented and DEFINITELY overdue! NOW, where’s the love?? Readers, artists, labels, promoters, blog contributors, JOIN THE CONVERSATION!! I know yall feel the same way, so let’s bring it to their attention by supporting and circulating!


    As always,

    Comment by SLiNKY — March 21, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  3. thank you Slinky. and you said it. I said my piece. What does everyone else think? Do not just read this, say “yeah I agree!” in your mind, and then do nothing. I NEED YOUR SUPPORT ON THIS, CAUSE THIS IS NOT JUST FOR ME, IT’S FOR ALL OF US.
    The bullshit must stop now.
    Peace and truth,

    Comment by Mindbender — March 21, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  4. I agree with the first paragraph but the second paragraph makes you look REALLY desperate and bitter.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 21, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  5. you obviously DO NOT know me, Anonymous. LOL. you have no idea who I am. a lot of these other people do.
    the state of the hip hop scene is desperate and the ignorance of the industry makes people bitter.
    i’m one of the happiest guys on the face of the planet, ask around. and i have blessings in abundance.
    do you have better criticism? like maybe about Now Magazine itself or any other publication? if not, thanks for that. better than nothing.
    p.s. I hope you are part of the solution.

    Comment by Mindbender — March 21, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  6. TRUTH….

    at the “desperate and bitter” comment, i can’t find anything said in the article to be any of those, cuz if you ARE part of the hip hop community in any way in T.O. you will agree with everything stated by Mindbender.

    hmmmm? Anonymous sure sounds like NOW writer too skerd to show his or her face. hehe.

    Comment by trizzle — March 21, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  7. It shouldn’t matter that I don’t know you. Your writing is coming off as self-serving whether you intend that or not. As I said I already agree with you about Now but maybe it would help spread your message if it didn’t seem like an attempt to get work for yourself?

    Comment by Anonymous — March 21, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  8. Great article Addi. I left my comments on your Facebook note, so I won’t repost them here. I think what we should do is adopt a twitter hashtag and tweet the hell out of this article and make it a trending topic in Canada and possibly worldwide. Social media has changed the way we can bring awareness to issues, so let’s use it. I already tweeted this with the hashtag #TruthAboutMedia, but if someone else has a better hashtag to suggest I will retweet with that.

    Marlon “Arlo Maverick” Wilson – Edmonton, Alberta

    Comment by Arlo Maverick — March 21, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

  9. Word Addi, I’ve all but given up on local media, the last reveiw I got was like 10 words. F em, “It’s time, to take matters in our own hands” Rebbel INS

    Comment by Touch — March 21, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  10. Anonymous, it’s NOT self-serving. Someone at Now should do a story on Drake, or his mom, or his producer, or his neighborhood growing up… it’s a no-brainer. The guy is the biggest rap star ever to come out of Canada. And they say they are “everything Toronto” yet they haven’t done any writing on him yet? And he’s been super-popular for at least 2 full years? Journalistic fail.
    I don’t care if I write it. It needs to be written. I am a journalist. I could do it. So could many other people. The job is still going undone. Let’s point the blame in the right places. You are the only one to criticize me putting myself in that article, and I didn’t even highlight myself. I’m friends with EVERY ONE of the Canadian artists mentioned, and half the U.S. artists mentioned too. I could easily connect Now to the hip hop community… like I used to. But nope, its been deaded. So I am speaking up. Everyone has a personal agenda, and a public agenda. Anyone in Canadian hip hop who knows anything knows that “Mindbender supports Canadian hip hop”, I have never been greedy in this shit, and I’ve been working in the music scene in the city for 15 years. As the only one who is criticizing me, I appreciate the devil’s advocacy. But you are wrong to think that I’m doing this “for me”. Period, case closed. Thank you. Now let’s focus on the REAL problem…
    and thank you to Touch and Marlon, you guys already know what it is. I think that idea about it being a #hashtag and Twittering it is BRILLIANT! I’m going to do that now. #Canadianhiphoprevolution – is that a good hashtag? 🙂 thanks for your thoughts, everyone. stay sharp, stay true
    one love from Mindbender

    Comment by Mindbender — March 21, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  11. Addi you are the man. Eloquently executing your point without coming on some “why ain’t yall doin nothing for Toronto” tip. I love it.

    I heard you loud and clear the Urban Music Weekly Women in Hip-Hop panel… this is a great way of putting that argument in writing.


    Comment by D.O. — March 21, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

  12. Mindbender wrote: “…but there are people with power in entrenched positions in this city who don’t care to evolve the state of business and industry in our stifled city, and that’s why we are perpetually stuck in the same place, if not moving backwards, in our attempts to become the globally-respected musical mecca Toronto has had the potential to be for so very, very long.”

    I don’t typically listen to hip-hop so I won’t pretend to know much about it BUT I do understand what you’re saying and can relate. The very same behaviours and attitudes are prevalent in my area of work: the visual arts. There are certain “journalists” who can’t seem to understand there is other work out there that is just as, if not more, culturally rich and diverse than the same old stuff they’ve been writing about for years.

    There’s more art out there than what’s already “tried and true”. There is real art out there that speaks to Canadian identity in a profound, historically relevant way that these journalists can’t seem to grasp. It’s like there’s this deep-set snobbism (or laziness) they can’t get past and the shame of it is that media has pretty much lost its objectivity.

    Anyway, I digress. But I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. Although I don’t listen to hip-hop, I do respect where this art comes from and I believe it has a strong, rightful place in the world. Good for you for speaking up and trying to do something about it in a positive, forward-moving way.

    Comment by Nathalie — March 22, 2011 @ 7:28 am

  13. the truth!!!!!

    Comment by Chris C — March 22, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  14. Oh my is that Mindbender wearing a bra and standing almost completely naked with his penis tucked?

    You look good enough to eat, dear friend. Care for a playdate this weekend, tiger?

    Comment by John Birkenstein — March 22, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  15. speak it to the roof addi! get out of that bra and back into this paper! gotta get the money mang! do the big help and allow mindbendus back into the heart of rah digga! feast and eat and never let the man make you tuck your dick!

    Comment by alfoyo — March 22, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  16. AYO! Big up to Mindbender for tucking his shit in between his thighs and STICKING his PENIS of POWER to the man!! YES! Hip-hop in this city needs to stop wearing a bra and tucking in and let the JUNK HANG OUT!! We have NUFF talented penis in TORONTO and we don’t need to tuck it away from the world!!! If the media won’t show them the FULL MONTY it’s time for us to HARNESS the internet so the whole world can hear our SHITTY MUSIC!!! I’m gonna start a hashtag #wackbittertorontoartists !!! BLOW UP OUR WACK STYLES FOR THE UNIVERSE!!!!! #crossdressing #hardcore

    Comment by Rhyme Crusher — March 23, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  17. heyy, big up 2 mindbended for spitting the truth up on the blogs
    but i have 2 say, i rep a spoken werd scented candle hip hop five man group called gentle candles
    and i aint been never gettin nu love from mindbender’s city on my back website
    we done send u mad demoz and tracks and yall bin ignorin us hard
    yall haters just ain’t givin queer-positive hip-hop no love

    Comment by Gentle Candles — March 23, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  18. Gentle Candles? BAAAAHAHAHHAHAA!!!!
    Only place yall niggas gettin luv is in ya asshole
    Tell em Mindbender!!!!!!!

    Comment by Rhyme Crusher — March 23, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  19. oh my, that picture of mindbender is glorious. I think I can see heaven through his bra strap. Do all Canadian MC’s live in such luxury??

    Comment by i dig mindbenders cack — March 23, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  20. Ay yo, where the pic at?
    I wanted 2 show my girl

    Comment by Ay yo — March 23, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  21. Sorry Ty and Rez and any mature individual reading this website. There are childish stalkers who like to stir shit up and bring up irrelevant stuff when bigger issues are being discussed. Please ignore them. I will tell the truth once, and then I will continue ignoring all childish hateful ignorance. Thank you to those who can just laugh at the picture, stay civilized, and then move on in life. Shit happens. I’m too busy dealing with injustice in Toronto for me to put too much energy into explaining that picture… but the truth shall set me free, that’s all I’ll say about it here.

    Comment by Mindbender — March 24, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  22. […] NOW! Don’t think this absolves you of your sins. Addi’s point still holds true. You just got lucky that this issue was coincidentally scheduled for release the […]

    Pingback by Cityonmyback.com » FEATURE: Boi-1da w/ NOW Magazine — March 25, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  23. Hello I am Mindbender in a bra. http://i55.tinypic.com/5z05yd.jpg

    Comment by Mindbender in a bra — March 25, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  24. […] when I wrote that letter to Now Magazine about the ‘convenient concern’ they showed with Boi-1da’s cover story, when the […]

    Pingback by CDN Hip-Hop State of the Union Address Pt. 2: Thank Me Later, Respect Me Now [Article] · HipHopCanada.com — April 8, 2014 @ 11:30 pm

  25. […] when I wrote that letter to Now Magazine about the ‘convenient concern’ they showed with Boi-1da’s cover story, when the JUNO Awards […]

    Pingback by CDN Hip-Hop State of the Union Address Pt. 2: Thank Me Later, Respect Me Now [Article] | SFA MEDIA — April 10, 2014 @ 10:51 am

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