I Was There! is a national archival animation project. Creatively disruptive, productively creative the project excavates and celebrates the ingenuity of hip hop architects as Cultural innovators that have rewritten the rules around culture in their city, province and across Canada. Today, major social institutions can and do refer to Toronto based on the lyrical inventiveness of K4ce’s the T dot and Jimmy Prime’s the 6ix. I Was There!recovers the buried layers of hip hop history lost in the digital heaps of data that pollute our coltan filled technologies. Like the children who mine the materials in our mobile phone, hip hop innovators do not acquire the same value as the products the produce, the styles the innovate nor the industries they create new markets for. Northside Hip Hop Archive intentionally disrupts this disturbing trend.
In 4 cities across 3 provinces in Canada, I Was There! insists we honour those Architects, deemed Northside hip hop Archive fellows for 2017, in a variety or relevant, public and meaningful ways. We honour Eekwol in Saskatoon, DJ Butcher T in Montreal, DJ Ron Nelson in Toronto and Eklipz in Hamilton. This project then does not neatly fall under the auspices of notions of a Creative Class or Creative Placemaking, this is not about advancing a city culture plan with reductionist desires of economic benefit. I was there is about honouring Humans, bold, fearless, creative and trendsetting Human, those that refuse to reify the status quo and in the process innovate a sense of newness that excite young people. That’s hip hop.