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Algonquin reflects on the evolution of hip-hop

A panel of music industry experts was joined by an audience of 30 on Feb. 26 at an intimately arranged Algonquin Commons Theatre stage to discuss the history and evolution of the beloved genre of hip-hop.

The panel, hosted by Jonathan Ramos, founder of the urban music promotion company REMG, included Juno-winning rapper and songwriter Shad, Hip Hop Evolution producers Darby Wheeler and Rodrigo Buscanan, Toronto’s 93.5 radio host Paul “Mastermind” Parhar and multimedia personality Jemeni.

The experts reflected on the history of hip-hop and how it has changed over the last 40 years.

Showing never-before-seen episodes from a brand new season of Netflix/HBO series Hip Hop Evolution, which is coming to Netflix Canada July 2018, Ramos highlighted the influence of hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five alongside other groundbreaking groups and MCs such as UGK and Ice-T.

Hip Hop Evolution is an Emmy, Peabody Award and two-time Canadian Screen award winning four-part documentary series which aired on HBO Canada in Sept. 2016. It will be available to stream on Netflix Canada July 2018.

Audience members inquired about culture vultures, SoundCloud rappers, evolution and origin of sound and female representation in the industry among other hot button topics.

The panel explained that the live discussion is a way to not only learn about history of the globally connecting genre but to acknowledge changes and respect the direction of its evolution.

“How can you call yourself a fan if you’re not interested in where your favourite music came from?” said Jemeni.

Music industry arts student Jeremy Buekert was thrilled to have been a part of the discussion. “I absolutely loved the panel, it was really cool, especially how intimate it was” said Buekert. “It was nice to be able to talk to (the panelists), they are extremely down-to-earth people.”

To Buekert and others, it was a worthwhile learning experience. “I learned some new things today and definitely made some connections I’m looking forward to using in the future.”

Child and youth care student Katlyn Bonner took it as an opportunity to explore the unfamiliar. “As someone who is more into people and not music, I definitely learned a lot and gained a lot of insight that made me appreciate the culture more” said Bonner, “It opened my eyes a lot.”


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