Back to the beat….

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Walking through the doors of District 28 in the core of Toronto’s east end, the atmosphere and vibe was illuminated last week at Graffiti Street Party (GSP) with the life, culture and sound of hip-hop music.

Brought to us by 13 of George Brown’s finest, every corner exemplified a pillar in hip-hop culture; from the live emcees flowing over timeless beats to the captivating graffiti pieces, GSP held nothing back. GSP brought its guests a retro, fresh and dynamic setting, which resonated with everyone in the room that has ever fallen in love with hip-hop.

GSP created a platform for local emcees to dominate the mic through their vicious lyricism and smooth and original lyrical structure. The crowd was drawn into their off the dome/freestyle delivery clinging onto every metaphor and punch line distributed by these underground and rising emcees. Emcees such as: Looch Bodega, Zavier, Johnny Toxsic, Jakob Bell and more.

What entranced me most about these emcees was their ability to interact and control the crowd. We had Looch Bodega spitting into the mic with his versatile Dominican flow initiating the crowd with, ‘when I say graffiti y’all say street’ or Toxsic causing mouths to hit the floor when he dropped his brutal punch lines while patrolling through the crowd from left to right; these emcees knew how to hold the crowd captive.

Slapped on the right side of District 28’s studio like venue were some of GSP’s insanely talented graffiti artists, who created illustrated declarations through their murals and pieces. One artist by the name of Chia created a wall sized mural, its details were complex, clean with soft and bright colour tones, which made it pop off the walls that surrounded it. Every artist brought their imagination in full force that evening and allowed it to run wild on blank canvasses. A mixture of dark and bright colour tones, distinctive tags, shapes and images, which all held different meanings and messages crafted to have viewers stop and think.

In the centre of all this hip-hop nostalgia GSP featured eager and talented b-boys who could not wait to push their limbs to the limit. From head spinning, to jackhammers and handstands these b-boys were stimulated by the beats that echoed throughout the room from one corner to the next. GSP featured local retail vendors who were able to network and connect with potential customers and who rewarded guests with raffle prizes of some of their apparel and accessories. Lastly, the records being spun on the DJ turntables boomed with the familiar sounds of Wu-Tang, Ice Cube, Biggie, Dr.Dre and other historic pioneers who have rightfully earned a page in hip-hop history!

All these elements were embedded into one night and one night only by the vision, creativity and dedication of 13 aspiring special event coordinators, whose hearts have all been influenced by hip-hop music and culture. In the midst of bringing such an impacting impression on the citizens of Toronto, GSP along with its guests, entertainers and vendors raised over $7,000 for Sketch and George Brown Scholarships, something truly remarkable and worth noting.

BlogTO was not exaggerating when they named this event a go to. Every single person on the VYB3 team could not stop raving about everything that had happened throughout the night. A special thank you to Harpreet, Andrea, Ashley and every other member of the GSP team, for showing this small up and coming team what happens when women help and empower other women. Again, thank you to all of those involved in making GSP happen and we are really hoping this becomes a yearly event in honor of hip-hop music and culture.

For further pictures or videos on Graffiti Street Party, visit them on Instagram at: Graffiti.TO.

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