While there’s no rap performance scheduled for this year’s JUNO Awards, CARAS has a special treat for Canadian hip-hop fans in their lineup of presenters.
In 1998, Vancouver rap group Rascalz caused a stir when they slammed the JUNOs for being racist and refused the award for Best Rap Recording for the album, Cash Crop.
They were protesting the fact that Canadian hip-hop had once again been relegated to the untelevised technical awards ceremony which took place the night before the main event. The common complaint was this move hindered Canadian hip-hop’s ability to become more commercially viable, but the Rascalz took it a step further by asserting racism was at the root of the decision.
As a result of the controversy, hip-hop was reinstated to the televised show the following year, with the group performing their hit “Northern Touch” on the air before returning to the stage to win the category for second straight year (this time with Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Checkmate). The award would be accepted this time and the relationship between hip-hop and the JUNOs appeared to be on the mend.
Backstage, however, Rascalz members Red1 and Misfit, made it clear to the media that had gathered that they were still unhappy with the overall state of the Canadian music industry.
“(Northern Touch) was number one on MuchMusic, but you couldn’t find it on commercial radio anywhere,” Misfit said. “Canadian music, all kinds of it, is huge. We’re a force to be reckoned with worldwide, but we’ve mastered the art of being neglected at home.”
Red1 also took issue with Canadian radio regulations: “The funny thing is, instead of branching out and supporting a bunch of Canadian musicians, radio programmers pick one that’s safe and play them over and over and over and OVER…”
Ultimately, hip-hop was regulated back to the untelevised segment of the show and has been there for several years. But things will be different this year.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the release of “Northern Touch,” CARAS has invited each of the artists involved with the track to present an award during this year’s televised segment.
The Northern Touch Allstars (as they’ve now been dubbed), will present the award for Rap Recording of the Year, with nominees Belly, Tory Lanez, Clairmont the Second, Lou Phelps, and Maestro Fresh Wes.
Unfortunately, they won’t be performing the classic hit during the broadcast, but if you’re in Vancouver they are also scheduled to play the JUNO after-party.
This is a great move by CARAS to extend a hand to the hip-hop scene, but hopefully just one step in a larger plan to better embrace urban music and applaud what it has done for Canada’s standing on the international music field. The real question is, will Rap Recording of the Year still be on the televised segment in 2019?
Toronto based journalist Erin Ashley wrote a really thorough breakdown of the issue for Noisey which we definitely recommend you check out.
You can find the official press release from CARAS below. Best of luck to all of this year’s nominees!
Geddy Lee, Jann Arden, Mark McMorris, Ruth B. and Northern Touch Allstars, among the presenters confirmed for The 47th Annual JUNO Awards Broadcast Live on CBC
More great Canadian talent join in celebrating the country’s biggest night in music
The Canadian Academy of Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC today announced the complete list of presenters sharing the stage at The 2018 JUNO Awards. This year’s broadcast hosted by Multi-JUNO Award-winner Michael Bublé will be broadcast live from Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 25 at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET, on CBC, CBC Radio One and CBC Music, and streamed globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking hip-hop release “Northern Touch,” performed by the Northern Touch Allstars: Rascalz, Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair and to celebrate this seminal moment in Canadian music history, The Northern Touch All Stars will be presenting the Rap Album of the Year Award on The JUNO Awards Broadcast.
Rock icon, 9-time JUNO Award Winner and Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee Geddy Lee (Rush), will induct Barenaked Ladies alongside original member Steven Page into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame on stage for one of the most historic moments on the broadcast.
Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly will also take the stage with Jasmyn Burke (WEAVES) to announce Breakthrough Artist of the Year (Sponsored by Factor, The Government Of Canada, And Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters).
Other presenters for the evening feature some of the most notable names in Canadian sports and entertainment: Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience), Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductees Bob Rock and Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charlotte Cardin, Grimes, Jann Arden, Mark McMorris (Canadian Olympic snowboarder), Ria Mae, Ruth B., Scott Helman, Tyler Connolly (Theory) plus Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) with Pearl Wenjack will introduce a special tribute performance honouring Gord Downie.
The 47th annual JUNO Awards and JUNO Week 2018 will be hosted in Vancouver from Mar. 19 through Mar. 25, 2018, culminating in The JUNO Awards, on Sunday, Mar. 25, at Rogers Arena, broadcast live nationwide 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET on CBC, CBC Radio One and CBC Music and streamed globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.
Visit the official website JUNOAwards.com.
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