It Lives In The North Presents: Hungry For Hip-Hop [Article/Photos]
Toronto, ON – When you hear the term Canadian hip-hop, what springs to mind? Some would say itʼs an oxymoron. and hip-hop, in itʼs purest, realist form, is dead, never having fully been grasped by Canadian culture. Well, yesterday, members of Toronto’s hip-hop community took to the streets, and proved that all wrong.
Back before it seemed to be about logos and record sales, hip-hop was about reclaiming space, reclaiming music, making a statement and exerting oneʼs voice. Yesterday, staff of Hip-Hop Ain’t Dead It Lives In The North, got it right on the mark. They set up shop on the south-east corner of Yonge and Dundas, to share some music (performed live by renowned beat boxer Scott Jackson), spread the word about Canadian hip-hop, and most importantly, give back to their community; in true Canadian fashion, on a freezing cold afternoon, without having been asked. The event was called Hungry For Hip-Hop. 
It was a pop-up food drive. Reminiscent of old school hip-hop, where the people reclaimed the streets in order to focus on what was important. As Christmas fast approaches, and right outside of one of the biggest malls in Canada, this small group of young people sent a message. By setting up a little table, collecting canned goods and spare change for the Daily Bread food bank, while offering hot chocolate to the cold passerby, they not only deﬁned Canadian hip-hop, but the true spirit of Christmas. Event organizer Jonathon “Bizz” Brown felt it too, “Weʼre using hip-hop as a vehicle to move people and raise for for those that donʼt have it this Christmas. We have a beatboxer, break dancers and a whole lot of enthusiastic people helping out. Look at all the food and money we raised just using hip-hop. These donations prove that hip-hop is alive here.”
Crowds gathered around the little table as they were entertained by Jackson and breakdancers, and a little community formed. The group was able to create some brand awareness to unlikely patrons, who saw the good that hip-hop can do and be and collected a ﬂyer with info for where they could download free music. For a moment, getting that perfect gift for whoever, didnʼt matter so much. The pressure of only a few more shopping days left, eased. Families stopped and watched, bopping their heads and swaying their hips, to the very talented, and engaging Jackson. People vowed to go run to the grocery store and return with non-perishables (and did!). All of a sudden what it meant to be Canadian at Christmas made sense; a group of strangers coming together, sharing music and entertainment, and giving back, helping fellow man. Hip-hop truly ainʼt dead, and it deﬁnitely does, live in the North.
For more information about the movement, visit Itlivesinthenorth.com.
Words and photography by Alex Rao for HipHopCanada