For the Record: An Idea of the North

Image credit: Whole lotta breaking goin' on
by Tony Bock, 1984
Toronto Star Photograph Archive, TS-1-E-677B-BREAKDANCING3

About the Exhibit

Produced in partnership with Northside Hip Hop Archive, For the Record: An Idea of the North is an interactive mixed media exhibition illuminating the role Soundsystems, radio shows and DJs, as the backbone of hip hop culture, played in the emergence of Toronto's now globally successful popular music scene. Across three generations, from the 1980s to the end of the 2000s, For the Record excavates an Idea of the North built upon carefully crafted sonic landscapes nurtured in what came to be known as the T-Dot and the 6ix.

Listen to hip hop radio shows on cassette. Watch award-winning music videos and DJ sets, DJ interviews, and graffiti art in the making.

Ron Nelson Fantastic Voyage
Unknown photographer
April 4, 1985
Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Toronto Public Library

Honey Jam
Summer, 2003
Northside Hip Hop Archive

Graff sketches
Elicser Elliott

Related Programming

Exhibit Launch

Mix, mingle, meet the curators and enjoy the exhibit.
Friday, February 15, 6:30 - 8 pm
Toronto Reference Library, TD Gallery
Please RSVP by emailing:

I Ain't No Joke: Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Toronto Hip Hop Culture

The Soundsystem and the DJ have been the backbone of the development of hip hop culture in Toronto. Through various transformations in DJing technology and the industry highs and lows, we will explore the importance and impact of DJ culture in Toronto.

Join hosts Jwyze, DJ K-Cut, DTS, and others to discuss:

Monday, April 1, 6 - 7:30 pm
Toronto Reference Library, Hinton Learning Theatre

Happens all the Time: Lou Robinson of Dream Warriors
Peter Power
August 16, 1992
Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Toronto Public Library

Write On: Journalists and Independent Magazines in Toronto's Hip Hop Scene

Join Host Jwyze and panelists Priya Ramanujam, Editor, Urbanology Magazine; Chris Penrose, Writer WORD & Mic Check Magazine; Phil Vassel, Publisher WORD; Del Cowie, former Music Editor at EXCLAIM!, and Rodrigo Bascuan, Pound Magazine, as they explore the impact of independent music magazines in the 1990s and 2000s.

Tuesday, April 16, 6:30-7:30 pm
Toronto Reference Library, Beeton Hall

Rappin' for Unicef (King Lou of Dream Warriors)
Unknown photographer
January 28, 1991
Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Toronto Public Library

Guided Tours

Please join a Special Collections staff docent on a free guided tour. Meet inside the TD Gallery. Drop in. No registration required.

Tuesdays at 2 pm