Category Archives: Uncategorized

St Clair River Trail (Corunna, ON)

The St. Claire River Trail is part of the larger Great Lakes Waterfront trail.

Only portions of it run alongside the river.

There are sections of the trail that detour onto neighbouring streets.

My run  took me from the First Nation community, Aamjiwnaang, all the way to the small town of Corunna.

I went for a run in coRUNna today. See what I did there?

There are all sorts of interesting things to see along this route. This is the historical Stanley House.

It’s always nice to run alongside a waterfront. There is much more of it to explore as well. Have you can any portion of the St. Clair River Trail?

Want to explore more trails?

Photographic Tour Archive – over 50 great places to run or hike

Paperless Classroom Solutions

I am teaching a Grade 11 Communications Technology class this term. It is my first time teaching anything like this. The students are creating websites, making photo edits, producing, recording, and editing audio and video files, and other digital projects. As such, I thought it would be a great idea to have a paperless classroom this term. This is what I tried.

Edmodo

This is a platform made specifically for teachers and students. It looks like Facebook and is pretty easy to use. Only your students have access to the page and they have to sign up using a code that the website provides for you.

I have used it for almost two months now but I think I am going to stop using it for the simple fact that posts get buried in the timeline easily. This happens in Facebook too. Edmodo has modeled itself on the Facebook platform and I don’t think it is the best fit for education.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a great solution for sharing files with students. It is easy to organize your files into folders and you can choose how to share them. You can invite people via email or share a link for anyone to access the files.

Right now, I only have one folder set up for all of the classroom assignments. I also attached the class syllabus here.

Clicking on the Assignment folder will give you access to the subfolders for each assignment. I number and title every assignment so it easy to keep track of everything.

When you click on an assignment, you get all the materials needed to complete it. The word document is there for students to download and edit. They can then submit their work in a .doc file and I can add comments and send it back to them. It’s a great way to target feedback and keep digital records of student work.

Email

Even though I use Gmail for pretty much all of my email communication, I make sure I only use my school email account to interact with students. This is just good practice and gives you protection as a teacher

Rubrics

I have been saving the rubrics and comments I make to each student in a PDF file that I store in a folder on my computer entitled “TGJ3M Portfolios.” Every student has his or her own folder and it serves as a portfolio of their work and marks.

Student Websites

Each student in my class created a blog for the first assignment of the term. Much of the work I want them to do can be completed there so they don’t have to hand in any papers or email me assignments. It saves us all a lot of time.

What Do You Do in Your Paperless Classroom?

I’d love to hear what tools and strategies you are using, please leave a comment below.

Teaching Tip Archive

Visit the Teaching Tip Tuesdays archive for over 200 great tips, tricks, and lessons from my classroom to yours. Teachers helping teachers is what it is all about.

The Dow Wetlands (Sarnia, ON)

The Dow Wetlands is located at the corner of LaSalle Road and Highway 40 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Today, I decided to go for a run around the trail there.

There are plenty of places to take in the natural beauty of the wetland and enjoy a picnic.

The trail runs alongside five ponds

and includes a few foot bridges.

The trail isn’t very long and it is almost completely flat. I had to run around the different loops a few times to get in my five kilometers today.

There are even a few placards like this one to describe the importance of wetland areas.

There are several wheelchair accessible observation docks as well. This pond is full of fish, bullfrogs, and wild birds.

Check out the Dow Wetlands brochure for more information about this wildlife preserve.

Want to find other places to run or hike? 

Photographic Tour Archive (dozens and dozens of great trails to explore)

Much To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of the year. I love having the opportunity to reflect on all of the good things in my life, to sit down and have a great dinner with my loved ones, and to share a little cheer.

My Wife

Diana is an amazing woman. She’s understanding, kind, supportive, and shows her love for me every day. I don’t know what I did to deserve her.

Clean Water

Not everyone has access to clean water. I am thankful that I can drink the water that comes out the tap and that I can drive to a nearby beach to have a swim.

Music

I love being able to share music with a receptive audience. Deejaying on the radio, at rap concerts, karaoke, and special events is a lot of fun.

A Healthy Attitude 

Some people have a hard time at holidays and it affects them so much that they can’t stop to enjoy the moment. I’m not sure why I tend to have a healthy attitude, but I am very thankful for it.

Trail Running

I love running through a trail and having the sounds of the city fade away around me. It gives me time to think and reflect, much like this time of year. I have never meditated, but I think this is my own form of meditation.

Skateboarding 

I still skateboard and can’t imagine ever giving it up. I love being able to glide across the concrete, to soar over ramps, and to spend some time with my son doing so.

My Home

It’s nice to have a place to come home to every night, a driveway to park in, food in the cupboards, and all the other pleasures that come from having a house.

However you are celebrating (or not) . . . 

I hope you can take a moment to reflect on your blessings and the great things in your life. We all have something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Colourful Characters at Fan Expo

There were so many great costumes at Fan Expo this year. I wish I had taken more pictures.

This cosplayer did a great job of The Flash from Earth 2. When I asked for his picture, he went into this pose that made it look like he was running through the convention centre.

These thugs tried to rob me at the train station.

This wasn’t just a clever costume. The Cosplay Medic had everything needed to do small repairs and touch-ups. He even helped my son with his costume at one point.

And I’ll leave you with this picture of dueling sonic screwdrivers.

More Fan Expo 2017 Highlights

Word is Bond Rap Radio Goes Back to School

Word is Bond Rap Radio goes back to school this week with a special edition of the show. I play some school-themed songs and talk about the lyrics, imagery, and stories in them. I interview an author about the problem of bullying in school, play a TED talk about bringing magic and wonder back to the classroom, and talk about how we need to reshape the entire institution of public education. We’re dropping knowledge, beats, and rhymes today.

Press play and enjoy the show!

Boogie Down Productions – You Must Learn
Young MC – Principal’s Office
Leaders of the New School – Case of the P.T.A.
2Pac – Old School
Eminem – Brain Damage
Brother Ali – Us
Shanaya Fastje – Word is Bond Exclusive Interview
Pharcyde – Passing Me By
Christopher Emdin – Teach teachers how to create magic (TED Talk)
Poor Righteous Teachers – Holy Intellect
Boogie Down Productions – Edutainment
Boy in a Band – Don’t Stay in School
Atmosphere – Don’t Forget
Shakespeare And The Last Empire – School H.I.T.
Jukebox Verbal – Dreams
Dustin Moore – The Truth
Kiv – Liar Liar
MC David – School
Large Professor – Bowne

Listen to Word is Bond Rap Radio

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If you liked this show make sure to check out our previous show

On the Radio in the Day – Stage at Night!

Catch me on the radio on a special day and special time as I will be the guest-host and DJ of The Come Up Show tomorrow.

I will be spinning some brand new hip-hop, mixed with some classics. Tanya Morgan will also be calling in to talk about their new album and extensive history in hip-hop. You won’t want to miss this live and in-depth interview.

Make sure you tune in live from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. om 94.9 CHRW.

WHEN: Saturday August 5, 2017
WHERE: 94.9 on your FM dial and streaming at https://chrwradio.ca/stream/
SHOW: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

After the radio show, you can come see me live at Hip-Hop Anonymous.

Dre Specs is going to be blessing the stage with some great beats and rhymes.

ADD will be doing a beat showcase (and probably sparking a cypher)

Spoken word artist Kareem Ig will also be performing.

And maybe even a few other acts.

These nights are always a lot of fun. Shout out to Danny Gable of DWG for always throwing a great show. Looking forward to this one!

WHEN: Saturday August 5, 2017
WHERE: Old East Bar and Grill – 765 Dundas Street, London, ON.
EVENT PAGE:  https://www.facebook.com/events/153638818523518/
SHOW: 10:00 p.m.
TICKETS: free

Highlights from Last July

Chasing Content (3)It’s time to go exploring!

Let’s dig through the archives and blow the dust off some posts you might have missed.

Here are a few highlights from last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last July,

or just these favs . . .

Old School Skateboarding with Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen is a pioneer when it comes to skateboarding tricks. His flatland style is breathtaking and this new video shows that he is still the master of old school tricks and routines.

DJs Run It and Run With It

This book about DJs who use laptops and other electronic equipment specifically in the EDM (electronic dance music) genre. It does have some things to say about hip-hop music and culture and is a good read for anyone who loves the art of deejaying.

Guest-hosting The Come Up Show

I had the chance to guest-host and DJ for The Come Up Show last year. As a late-night radio disc jockey, it was nice to spin some great hip-hop in the day time over the airwaves. If you missed it, you can click through and listen to the podcast.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Please click on the above links to read some of the best of Silent Cacophony from last year at this time. Don’t let great content get buried in the archive. Thanks!

Chase March DJ Services

I offer professional DJ services for all events, including weddings,  personal and corporate events, fashion shows, birthday parties, , house parties, and even offer an interactive experience for teenagers and pre-teens.

Contact

Call or Text – 1 (519) 851-2100
Email – chasemarch@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/chasemarch
Twitter – https://twitter.com/chasemarch
Chase March DJ Services – http://chasemarch.com/dj-services

This movie is WONDERful!

It’s no secret that the most recent DC movies haven’t really captured the magic of the comic books and the source material, at least not to my expectations. Until now. This was everything that a Wonder Woman movie should be.

It starts out with the photograph we saw Bruce Wayne uncover in the last film (Batman vs Superman). It’s black and white and shows Wonder Woman in World War I. The photograph must have a story behind it since she looks like she hasn’t aged a day. She takes the photo of out the package and looks at the note enclosed. It says something along the lines of “I found the original. Maybe one day you’ll tell me the story behind it.”

It’s a great story, and one that wasn’t even in the comic book. Her debut was around the time of World War II. However, it made sense to set her movie debut a little further back to differentiate it from Captain America in the Marvel universe. It’s been a while since a film has been set in WWI, so this movie had a unique look.

I absolutely loved the look of the Themyscira, the secret island of Amazon women. It was exactly how I pictured it. The colours were bright and showed the magical aspect of a kingdom entirely populated by women. We get to see Diana grow up there with a protective mother who would rather not see her trained to be a warrior, even though she knows what awaits her in the future.

The tranquility of the island is upset when a plane somehow crosses over the shield that protects the island. It is in distress and crashes into the sea. Diana, quickly comes to the rescue and pulls the pilot to safety. It was the first man she has ever seen. Unfortunately, the battleships that were attacking him, also cross over and begin their attack.

The battle between the soldiers and the Amazon women is epic and heartbreaking. But ultimately, the women drive the men out of their kingdom. Through the rescued pilot Wonder Woman learns of the destruction caused by the Great War as is convinced that it is due to the God of War, Ares. She feels that it is her duty to defeat him and stop the war.

The colour contrast is amazing. When she travels to man’s world, it is no longer bright and wonderful. It is drab and depressing. She even comments to the pilot that it is hideous. He, somewhat agrees.

I absolutely loved this movie. Wonder Woman isn’t over-sexualized, the story is great, the effects are well-done, and the overarching theme is something that I haven’t seen in a comic book movie. It basically illustrates that no one is either good or bad. We all have choices to make and some days we aren’t at our best.

Gal Gadot is perfect in the role. She looks like Wonder Woman and acts in the ways we would expect her to. She is brave, strong, powerful, and determined. Setting the movie in the past also means that there are no other superheroes to help her out. She is on her own and shows resourcefulness every step of the way.

This is the best comic book movie I have seen in quite some time. It’s amazing to see a female character brought to life on the big screen in such a fabulous way. We need more female heroes like her in this universe. I eagerly look forward to a sequel and, of course, the Justice League team movie coming in the fall.

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie. Or drop me a note on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

How to Write About Culture for a Living and Not ‘Sell Out’

The term ‘sell out’ is used a little too liberally these days. People expect artists (and, yes, writers are artists) to do everything for the sheer love of creation and the moment they make a bit of money, people start to call them ‘sell outs’; but it’s not true and it’s not fair! Everyone has to eat. Here’s how you can write about culture for a living and avoid the dreadful ‘sell out’ label.

Collaborating with Local Artists

You yourself, as a small-time writer, are a local artist and local artists have to stick together! If you can get in touch with other artists, you could perhaps help one another out. Have you got quite a following on your blog? Speak to a local musician and ask if you could review their next performance for a fee. Let them know that it would be good exposure. Meanwhile, you could genuinely pay for a ticket and encourage other friends to come with you.

Once you’ve built up that relationship, you could offer to do a bit of “marketing” for their next job. You could offer to report on an upcoming performance and use your social media presence in order to tell lots of people in the area that it’s a gig worth going to. You’ll be writing about something which is genuinely cultural and helping out an independent artist.

You could make some kind of agreement where you get 10% of the revenue from these events because of your contribution to the event’s marketing. Make arrangements like this with a few musicians and you’ve got a nice little income as well as a supply of relevant content for your readers. You can use the site Musicians Database in order to get in touch with local musicians in your area. (And you can use this strategy to collaborate with painters, sculptors, poets….)

Maintaining Integrity

If you are promoting an event — be careful about what you can/can’t say. It’s important you still give an honest opinion, even if you’re being paid. If it’s an event which is totally at odds with your worldview and not at all relevant to your blog, you’d probably have some moral qualms about promoting it anyway. In a worst case scenario, you could promote something you personally are not interested in, but which your readers might like. In these instances, just keep your writing completely neutral. Quote other reviewers and just generally tip toe around directly saying anything you do not agree with.

Another idea is to make sure that for every promotional blog post that you write, you also write two posts from the heart. Blog posts like this one, really reflect the human side of bloggers and people love a bit of emotion and sentimentality — it’s important to keep things personal and connect with readers with real stories of your life, rather than just covering the pros and cons of your interest area. As long as you continue to provide this kind of content alongside your promotional work, your integrity will never be lost.

Selling Arts and Crafts

Use your writing to help launch your very own product line, or use your writing as springboard for other artists and creatives.

Do you do anything besides writing? Like, maybe, knitting? Or sculpting? Maybe you even make your own CDs? If there’s anything else that you do, then you might like to start up an online shop to run alongside your blog. You’d keep running the blog and it would work as content marketing for the ecommerce side of the site, which would be where the money is.

These days, getting an ecommerce website off the group is easier than ever. There are so many websites out there which have been designed to help you start up an online store. WordPress’s Woocommerce is one of the most popular, but by all means look around until you find whichever one you think is just right for you — you’ve got newcomers like Shopify to test out, and don’t rule out the possibility of selling through your social profiles, or through social media groups.

If you don’t make anything of your own, perhaps you could still start an ecommerce site in conjunction with your blog, but with the intention of selling the products of any artsy friends that you have. Again, collaboration is always going to be very important for independent creatives. It’s a great way to galvanize a whole community around your business.

Comfort Before Commenters

At the end of the day, it is more important for artists like you to be living comfortably than it is for you to appease the odd troll who’ll get mad at bloggers for “selling out.” Even if you go down the more corporate route and do some affiliate work, it doesn’t mean that you’ve completely changed your attitude — affiliate marketing is just about making natural and relevant product recommendations, not spamming people.

Amazon have a large affiliate scheme and the fact that they’ve got so much to offer on their site means that you’ll be able to always find a relevant product recommendation! All you need to do is include special links to Amazon products and then they’ll give you a commission for every sale made by people who come from those links. Buy you can also be an affiliate for any of the services you use to manage your business (like hosting companies, email platforms etc) — this is a very natural place to start as your audience will naturally be curious about ‘how you do it’.

So do what you want to do, and if some people call you a “sell out” don’t worry about it. They’ll be a tiny minority. For every person who criticizes an artist and calls them a “sell out” for daring to try and support themselves, there’ll be another person who’s more than happy to try and support you. What plans do you have to monetize your writing?

Patrick Foster (Guest Contributor) 

Ten years of ecommerce know-how as a consultant and marketer. Time to share my knowledge with the world and help other businesses and entrepreneurs grow and thrive.

Chasing Content – Highlights from Last June

Chasing Content (2)It’s time to go exploring!

Let’s dig through the archives and blow the dust off some posts you might have missed.

Here are a few highlights from last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last June,

or just these favs . . .

London DJ Showcase

This was a lot of fun. It was so nice to share the stage with some of the best DJs in London, Ontario.

Paying Tribute to Muhammad Ali

I had to dedicate an edition of Word is Bond Rap Radio to one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. Even though Ali was an athlete and not a musician, he was hugely influential for what hip-hop would become. He might have been the first rapper too.

Instagram Immemorial

This was such a great idea. I need to do more of theses posts that highlight some of the content I post to Instagram. It spreads the memories a bit and helps curate the posts in a more concrete way.

Teaching Yard Sale

I still have some teaching material for sale. If you need or want anything, just let me know.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Please click on the above links to read some of the best of Silent Cacophony from last year at this time. Don’t let great content get buried in the archive. Thanks!

Tim Hortons Museum – Store 1 (Hamilton)

Tim Hortons is one of the most beloved businesses in Canada.

Memory Lane

It got its start with a small coffee shop in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Memories from the 70s and on

In order to commemorate its history, the very first store has been renovated to include a small museum.

Memory Lane Aisle

There are items to show how the franchise has grown and developed over the past 50 years.

Timbit Cutter

Here is the Timbit cutter tool that was used to create the miniature donuts we all love.

Walnut Crunch

Walnut Crunch used to be my favourite full-sized donut.  I liked that it was rectangular in shape. It seemed bigger than the regular circular donuts. And it was chocolate with nuts. Unfortunately, they no longer make these donuts.

Sink and Dryer

This location even has hi-tech bathrooms. The sink faucet has air dryers built right into it. The bars that angle out to each side, blow warm air to dry your hands. I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else. It’s a great design.

Store 1

Store #1 opened on this day, May 17th, back in 1964.

Tim Horton Statue

Tim Horton was a hockey player and is immortalized with this statue. This plaque gives a little bit of information about the installation.

Tim Horton Plaque

Tim Hortons is a cultural phenomenon and a beloved Canadian institution. And it all got its start a few blocks from where I used to live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

My Everything Birthday

Everything Birthday

42 is the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. That is why I am dubbing today as my “Everything Birthday.”

There is surprisingly little about everything birthdays on the world wide web. I was certain that fellow Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans would have made everything birthdays commonplace. I guess it is up to me.

I want to have an everything bagel for lunch today and celebrate all of the great things that have been happening in my life.

Coincidentally, this month we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the colour-barrier in baseball. He changed the face of baseball and popular sport, and he did it while wearing the Number 42.

This year, I got married, celebrated the fifth anniversary of my radio show, excelled in my studies at university, rekindled my love of teaching, taught high school for the first time, and have continued to skateboard and trail run.

I have a lot to be thankful for and will be celebrating all of this, today, on my everything birthday.

Winter Trail Hike

I can’t remember the last time I went out for a winter hike through the woods.

trans-canada-trail-kw

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I’m always running these kinds of trails in the summer.

winter-trail

It was a nice change of pace to leisurely walk along the main path in the winter.

winter-wonderland

I was surprised to see that the trail had been sufficiently packed down so that we could just walk along it naturally. Of course, that didn’t stop us from going off trail and throwing ourselves down the snowy banks.

climbing-up-that-hill

Here we are climbing back up one of the snow hills.

off-the-main-trail

We threw ourselves down a few more hills too,

grand-river

and made out way down to the river. There were large and thick pieces of ice all along the shore.

white-trail

It truly was a winter wonderland and I was glad to go on this little adventure.

Continuing the Chase in 2017

chasing-contentEvery month, I like to take a glimpse back into the past to see what was happening exactly one year ago.

I highlight some of my favourite posts from that month and share them here in a little feature I call “Chasing Content.”

Read all of the posts from last January

or just these highlights

Exploring Swearing in Hip-Hop

I had a lot of fun producing this radio documentary on swearing in hip-hop music. It’s part of the monthly series I do entitled, Know Your History. 

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

I hope filmmakers can learn something from the Planet of the Apes movies. The reboot movies are extremely well done and are faithful to the original material in a way that can only please fans both new and old.

Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide

This is a fun read for anyone who truly loves hip-hop. The editor takes us on a journey through 60 classic albums with in-depth articles from noted music journalists.

The Death of Spider-Man

I did a lot of comic book reading last January. If you scroll through all the posts for the month, you’ll see tons of great Spider-Man reviews including Superior Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and this huge event that brought tears to many an eye.

Star Wars: The Force Retread

I still haven’t seen Rogue One yet, although I have heard good things about it. It can’t be worse than The Force Awakens. I was so disappointed with that movie that lacked any originality and I vented about it here.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me! 

We do this at the start of every month. Don’t let great content get lost in the archive. Click the links above, leave comments, and share stuff on your social media accounts.

Thank you!

Looking Back to help Look Forward

launching-a-new-yearIn order to truly accomplish a goal, you need to work at it regularly, keep it in the forefront of your mind, and make small steps to reach the intended destination.

This is something I am not good at. I write a list every year, and then it gets buried in the archive.

I decided not to make resolutions at the start of last year. Instead, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish.

The post still got buried in the archive and I didn’t think much about it till now as we launch a brand new year.

That being said, let’s look back at what I was thinking last year at this time and see how I did and what I really need to work on in 2017.

Here it is

“I want to . . .

  • be more creative
  • DJ all sorts of events (weddings, rap concerts, dances, etc)
  • get my fiction published
  • produce quality radio
  • build a life with the woman I love
  • find a way to support myself financially
  • find a job that not only pays the bills but makes me happy
  • sharpen my DJ skills
  • make a few mixtapes to highlight my DJ skills
  • run more than 300 kilometers
  • write a new work of fiction
  • write a non-fiction book (I have two great ideas for this too)
  • keep this blog regularly updated
  • read for enjoyment, self-improvement, and personal education”

Why?

Why did I write that first one? I have always been creative and don’t think I slowed down in that arena.

Wins

I did DJ a lot this year as you can tell from my #2016bestnine posts on Instagram.

2016bestnine-chase-march

Six out of these nine pictures are DJ related. It shows me deejaying on the radio, at a night club, at a stag-and-doe party, holding it down for the Rel McCoy and Cquel tour stop in London, and for being an official DJ for Sons of Boombap.

I did produce lots of quality radio programs including my annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular, All Women’s  Voices Day, Christmas Special episode, and tons of great in-depth interviews.

I made two mixtapes this year that were events. I mixed one-third of the collaborative mixtape from the Sons of Boombap collective. I also teamed up with DJ Hullewud to drop The MIX(ed)TAPE. I am very proud of both of these projects.

I didn’t track my running with an app this year but I did get out at least three times a week every week all season. I have to have cleared close to 300 km. I wish I knew for sure though.

I didn’t read as many novels in 2016, but I still did read a lot. I didn’t include the stuff I read for school either as I started working on a masters degree at Western University.

Fail

I didn’t write any new works of fiction or non-fiction this year. I did write and work on projects for the four university classes I took though. I hadn’t planned on going back  to school, but I am glad I did.

Win

Returning to university to pursue a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

I am very excited about this new career path and can’t wait to finish.

Set-back

I worked at a fast food spot as a survival job and kind of got stuck there. The good news is that I did get promoted twice.

Launch-forward

I have moved on from that job and will be teaching high school this winter term. That doesn’t start until Tuesday, but it’s a great way to kick off a new year (also featured on my Best 9 picture above)

The Biggest Win

The biggest win of 2016 is my engagement to Diana. She is an amazing woman and I am really looking forward to our wedding this winter and building a life together.

Good bye 2016

2016 wasn’t a terrible year. It felt like it was a transition year and that even better things are on the horizon. That is why I wrote this tweet.

chase-march-tweet

Hello 2017

I am ready for all the good things that will happen this year. I don’t plan on making any goals or resolutions just yet. Perhaps I will make shorter goals and work hard towards accomplishing some of the things I didn’t get to this year.

Happy New Year!

Top 16 Albums of 2016

A few years back I wrote a post about the best albums of that year. I called it the Top 9 Albums of ’09 and unknowingly started a tradition. Every year now, I have to add one more album to the list.

This year, I had no problem finding 16 albums to rank. It was a good year for hip-hop music.

All of the albums listed below were in heavy rotation for me, were featured on my radio show –  Word is Bond several times, and the tunes bang.

I even got to interview a few of these artists on the show.

If you have a favourite album that I didn’t list here, please leave a comment below. This time of year is always great for discovering music that flew under your radar. I know I discover great new music from other people’s lists. Hopefully mine can do that for you too.

So without further ado, here is the Top 16 Albums of 2016.

16. Sadat X – Aqua

sadat-x-aqua

Sadat X is a veteran in the rap game. He still has the chops on the mic and enlists the production skills of Pete Rock, Diamond D, DJ Scratch, and more. The features on the album are also on point.

15. More or Les – Blow the F&#@ Up But Stay Humble

more-or-les-btfybsh

More or Les has a very distinct voice and actually talks about things on his record. In the lead single for this project, he admits that he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think you should at least take a sip. He battles stereotypes, drops knowledge, and makes your head nod.

14. Atmosphere – Fishing Blues

atmopshere-fishing-blues

Atmosphere are always one of my favs.  I might be a little biased here. And this may effort may not be their best work to date, but it is still getting regular rotation in my house and car.

13. Torae – Entitled

torae-entitled

I love how Torae has stopped using the n-word. The track that addresses this on the album is absolutely brilliant. I also like how he tackles the subject of entitlement that many of us struggle with regularly.

12. Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – The Easy Truth

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Apollo Brown is one of the best producers in the game. He can bring out the best in an emcee. And when that emcee is already a gifted lyricist such as Skyzoo, a collaborative project is going to sound amazing. This one is a future classic!

11. Rel McCoy – Gas Money

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Relic officially changed his name to Rel McCoy with this project. He tries some new flows and enlists the talents of a variety of producers including Fresh Kils, Tone Mason, Moka Only, and Elaquent to create another great album. Rel never disappoints.

10. DJ Hullewud / DJ Chase March – The MIX(ed)TAPE

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It might be a little self-serving to include this on my year-end list, but I am very proud of this project. It features world-premiere and exclusive tracks from some of hip-hop’s best underground artists including Exit Only, Sankdafied, Branded Moore, Swamp Thing, Timbuktu, Jon Corbin, Es, Zoetic Minds, Animal Nation, Ultra Magnus and DJ Slam, and more.

9. Masta Ace – The Falling Season

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Masta Ace goes back to high school with this concept album that retells the story of his youth in skits placed between topical songs that will surely have your head nodding and you rapping along.

8. Tiff the Gift – It Gets Greater Later

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I really love the feel, the message, and the boom bap beats on this one. It was worth the two year wait between albums if this is what Tiff the Gift had been cooking up for us. My favourite track is “Painted Pictures.”

7. Common – Black America Again

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Common has taken a few mis-steps when it comes to albums and projects. But his growth and development is something that cannot be denied. His is redefining a genre that often tries to paint older voices as irrelevant. This is Common at his finest.

6. A-F-R-O and Marco Polo – A-F-R-O Polo

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All Flows Reach Out is one of the freshest new voices we have in hip-hop. Team him up with one of the best producers to ever come out of Canada, and we end up with A-F-R-O Polo, a great underground hip-hop project.

5. Elevator Emcees – Elevator MCs

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These guys captured my attention right away with this project. They remind me of Dilated Peoples with their sound. I hope to see big things from them in the future.

4. Homeboy Sandman – Kindness for Weakness

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I love this album. “Eyes” is quite possibly my favourite song of the whole year. Homeboy Sandman is quite unconventional and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. He can probably relate to More or Les is that way.

3. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service

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This album is incredible for a few different reasons. First off, it is the last album we will see from the group as founding member Phife Dawg passed away. Secondly, the group came back together to record it. You can tell that they were in the same room at the same time. Third, they push the envelope while maintaing the Tribe sound. I’m so glad we have this final chapter in the ATCQ catalogue.

2. Tempomental – Loaded with Pain

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Tempomental is one of London, Ontario’s finest. His live performances are absolutely incredible. He has a soulful flow, sings, and produces. This album is sonically beautiful with some depressing and thought provoking lyrics. It’s what Tempomental does best.

1. Nilla – Valkyrie

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We haven’t heard from Nilla in years, but it was well worth the wait. This album was produced entirely by Ghettosocks and we even get to hear him vocally on the project as well. Nilla takes aim at misogyny in hip-hop and sexism in every day life. She spits hard hitting rhymes over top of great boom-bap beats. She will definitely make you say, “Woah, man!” (a highlight track everyone should hear)

Support the artists

Go find these albums and support the artists by purchasing their music, playing to see them perform live, and copping some merchandise.

Your turn

Do you agree or disagree with my list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

End of the Year Hip Hop Anonymous Bash

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We are closing off the year with one more edition of Hip Hop Anonymous featuring performances by Tempomental, Sankdafied, Typewriters, Laura Leger, Traffimatics, KRouge, Revelated Me, and T Will. There will also be a beat showcase by AdD.

DJ Chase March on the 1s and 2s all night long.

WHAT: Hip Hop Anonymous – End of Year Bash
WHEN: Friday December 30, 2016
WHERE: Gordy’s Brewhouse. 1631 Oxford St. E. London, ON.
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: Free (DWG wants to give back to all the fans and supporters)

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more info.

I hope to you can come out and kick it with us in a small, intimate setting. Help support the local hip-hop scene by attending shows, letting people know that you are going via social media, buying some merch at the gig, and enjoying the tunes. It’s going to be a good night!