Yes, 2015 is over and done with!

What a year for our organization with a great many activities offered to citizens in the borough, to diverse clients, different age groups, mixed cultural backgrounds or social classes, as well as the creation of the new website, various workshops offered, interventions accomplished and so on.

The program though, that is closest to my heart, is celebrating a special anniversary this year, as most of you already know, the 10th edition of the Urban Arts Festival – Hip Hop You Don’t Stop. This program – that was put in place to prevent crime through art – was first held in 2005. Wow! We witnessed an unbelievable response from our citizens during this 2015 edition of the festival. Effectively, we also upgraded our content and presence to live up to the excitement of the local urban scene by participating in activities that put the emphasis on local community artists as well as professionals. The whole festival was organized in collaboration with Elementality.

To underline this anniversary, we added a third day to the program that included an evening conference. The thematic was “Hip-Hop as a Universal Language”. Presented by CKUT, the event took place at McGill university and hosted two international artists: the legendary Ken Swift (VII Gems/Rock Steady Crew, New York), one of the first dancers to develop the B-Boying (breakdance) at the end of the 70’s as well as the rapper and soul singer Illa J (Slum village, Detroit) who was also the younger brother of the late J Dilla, considered by many as one of the artists/beat makers that had the biggest influence on the rap music today. During the second part of the evening, we addressed the same thematic relating to Hip Hop as a tool to intervene with youth, and that especially with the lead of Mahdi Saoula alias Dr. MaD from Studio Nobad Sound at the Maison des Jeunes in Cote-des-Neiges. A very interesting evening indeed!

Several teenagers, young adults and even some younger kids were present for the Soulful Jam event that took place the day after at the Maison de la Culture in Cote-des-Neiges. This evening was filled with creative energy putting in the forefront the youth from the Annex at St-Luc High School and their wonderful project – Generation Flow, others using the Nobad Sound studio including two excellent groups Strange Froots and Susiety that are getting a lot of attention in the Montreal scene as well as the talented Harmny and his unique beat box/Rn’B. The highlight of the night, without a doubt, was the phenomena Urban Science, a music group that specialises on rap music classics and that have collaborated with the rappers from the anti-battle End of the Weak and people form the crowd, in order to demonstrate their knowledge throughout a game of improvisation. The evening was closed in perfection by soul/rap artist Illa J, accompanied by Urban Science.

To conclude this 10th edition, an impressive crowd was present at Notre-Dame-de-Grace park (Girouard/Sherbrooke) during the event called Elementakiza – and consists of traditional Mexican tacos BBQ and new addition jerk chicken (thanks to Boom Js), celebrating the urban arts. The activities for the day included many for young and old alike presenting all kinds of workshops (dance with legendary Ken Swift, art and screen printing) extending to murals on trucks (a presentation by A’Shop) and cellophane, competitions of B-Boying/B-Girling (breakdance) and barbers (presented by La Chaise Rouge) as well as Hip-Hop dance (especially by the Walkley and Loyola Center youth), reggae (Mikey Dangerous), rap (Griffos, Bocafloja (New York), Nomadic Massive) and funk music (Feel Family and DJ Professor Groove). Additionally, the positive energy of the Prevention CDN-NDG staff and the Elementality volunteers that were present and a group of more than 20 youth from La Voie High School added some well motivated manpower to the organization. In short, a third day with a lot of color, celebrating not only the Hip Hop culture and the urban arts overall, but also the distinctive multicultural element of this borough and the open mindedness of the people who live in it.

Hip Hop You Don’t Stop 2015 was a great success especially considering how well the cooperation worked. Bravo to you all!

 

Marc – Coordinator for Hip Hop You Don’t Stop festival