Item Details

Archival Activism: Deciphering State-Sanctioned Histories and Reporting of Canadian Hip Hop

Issue: Vol 5 No. 2 (2018) Special Issue: Hip Hop Activism and Representational Politics

Journal: Journal of World Popular Music

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/jwpm.37844


Hip hop archives, in their recent and significant growth across American cities, provide new opportunities to engage and preserve what was once imagined as a fleeting youth subculture. Importantly, hip hop archives also allow us to intervene on the lack of archival materials relating to hip hop in the City of Toronto Archives, a municipally funded institution. In this article weargue that "rogue" archival practices provide the theoretical tools for an urgent response and solution to the lack of municipal preservation of marginalized histories. We use the term rogue following Abigail De Kosnik to gesture at some of the productive ways that digital archiving, in its refusal to "follow the rules" of archiving, or in its disorderly fan-based labour, opens new passages to think about hip hop's history beyond state-sanctioned institutions.

Author: Mark V. Campbell, Maya Stitski

View Original Web Page

References :

Abramovitch, Ingrid. 1988. “Global Sampler of Folklore at Drummondville Festival”. The Gazette Montreal, 12 July.

Ainsworth, Lynne. 1985. “They Dance their Troubles Away”. The Toronto Star, 1 January.

Barr, Greg. 1989a. “Rap Group Disappoints 500 Teenage Fans”. The Ottawa Citizen, 14 August.

—1989b. “Tony D.; Making a Big Noise in the Big City”. The Ottawa Citizen, 14 April.

—1990a. “Maestro, if you Please…”. The Ottawa Citizen, 8 June.

—1990b. “NOW! Into the ’90s Crystal Ball Gazers Foresee Rap ’n’ Roll”. The Ottawa Citizen, 5 January.

—1990c. “Prince’s Graffiti Bridge Mere Purple Rain Reprise”. The Ottawa Citizen, 4 November.

—1990d. “Rap Group Turns Market Upside Down”. The Ottawa Citizen, 16 February.

—1990e. “Young MC: Educated Guess Pays Off”. The Ottawa Citizen, 10 August.

Base, Ron. 1984. “Beat Street Takes Its Time Moving”. The Toronto Star, 8 June.

Brownstein, Bill. 1986a. “Director Ron Howard Plots to Launch Seniors into Space in Uplifting Cocoon”. The Gazette Montreal, 26 April.

—1986b. “Krush Groove’s Rappin’ Sets Audience Nappin’”. The Gazette Montreal, 11 January.

—1988. “Frankie Laine Set for Dates in Chateauguay”. The Gazette Montreal, 27 February.

Darling, Cary. 1988. “Wild Thing Helps Tame Hip-hop ‘Squabblehead’”. The Toronto Star, 26 December.

Dimanno, Rosie. 1984. “Breakdancers Twirl and Jump in Quest to Become Champions”. The Toronto Sunday Star, 27 May.

Erskine, Evelyn. 1990. “Musical Plea Says It’s Time for Rap, Reggae to Run Together”. The Ottawa Citizen, 2 February.

Feist, Daniel. 1990. “Party Mood Prevails in Puerto Rican Tunes”. The Gazette Montreal, 21 April.

Griffin, John. 1985a. “Getting Stars Together No Easy Task”. The Gazette Montreal, 7 February.

—1985b. “Sun City Potent Mix of Rock and Protest”. The Gazette Montreal, 7 November.

—1989. “Spike Lee’s Right Thing as Bleak as Original Sin”. The Gazette Montreal, 30 June.

Griffin, John, and Mark Lepage. 1988. “Run-DMC Champions in Battle for Rap Crown”. The Gazette Montreal, 14 July.

Grigsby, Wayne. 1984. “Harry’s Heart’s Still in the Streets”. The Toronto Star, 7 June.

Holland, Chris. 1985. “Rap’s Funky Thunder Zaps Your Feet to the Beat”. The Toronto Star, 4 April.

Hum, Peter. 1990. “House Party Has Same Theme with New Message”. The Ottawa Citizen, 12 May.

Kelly, Brendan. 1990. “Intense O’Connor Sings from the Heart and Fans at Forum Go Wild”. The Gazette Montreal, 19 August.

Kloer, Phil. 1990. “…and NBC Goes for Rap”. The Ottawa Citizen, 22 July.

La Mer, Sur. 1988. “Moodys: No Need for Blues: Afrika Bambaataa and Family”. The Ottawa Citizen, 12 August.

Lepage, Mark. 1989a. “Dancing into the 90’s; House, Rap—Call It What You Want but It’s Disco and It’s Big Again”. The Gazette Montreal, 12 August.

—1989b. “Folk Balladeers Find Audiences Still Keen”. The Gazette Montreal, 27 April.

—1989c. “Funk King Throws Dance Party of the Year”. The Gazette Montreal, 29 November.

—1989d. “Iron Man a Sterling Effort by Townshend”. The Gazette Montreal, 27 July.

—1989e. “Material Better than Performance for Rising Star de Larochelliere”. The Gazette Montreal, 26 October.

—1989f. “Neville Brothers Tell It Like It Is on New LP”. The Gazette Montreal, 13 April.

—1989g. “New Collection of Stones’ Singles Delivers Rock ’n’ Roll Satisfaction”. The Gazette Montreal, 17 August.

—1989h. “Public Enemy: Monologue Got in Way of the Message”. The Gazette Montreal, 13 November.

—1990a. “Jane’s Addiction Likes Dangerous Ideas”. The Gazette Montreal, 15 September.

—1990b. “Out-of-step Shouter Graham Parker Makes Time Stand Still—Again”. The Gazette Montreal, 13 January.

—1990c. “Poor Organization Gives Palladium Bad Rap”. The Gazette Montreal, 19 February.

—1990d. “Prairie-pop Band Jr. Gone Wild Saddles up a Winner”. The Gazette Montreal, 20 October.

—1990e. “Rappers’ Message May Not be Pretty but Censoring Records is Not the Answer”. The Gazette Montreal, 15 February.

—1990f. “Sinead’s Got What Real Rockers Want”. The Gazette Montreal, 31 March.

MacInnis, Craig. 1988. “Trend-hungry Hep Cats Eating up Buster”. The Toronto Star, 19 August.

Pareles, Jon. 1990. “2 Live crew is Filthy—but is it Obscene?”. The Gazette Montreal, 16 June.

Potter, Mitch. 1989b. “Rap”. The Toronto Star, 8 July.

Remington, Bob. 1990. “Well-worn Theme Should Really Fly: Rapper Puts Twist on Hillbillies Plot”. The Edmonton Journal, 10 September.

Rody-Mantha, Bree. 2017. “Reader’s Digest and the Globe and Mail Top Vividata Rankings”. Media in Canada, 27 February.

Ryan, James. 1990. “Few Fireworks Expected at Grammys; Special Award Honors Musical Legacy of Nat King Cole”. The Gazette Montreal, 20 February.

Salem, Rob. 1984. “Real New Yorkers Show Wild Style”. The Toronto Star, 10 February.

Stoute, Lenny. 1988. “Mee’s Funky Hip-hop Beat No Flimsy House of Cards”. The Toronto Star, 13 May.

Venant, Elizabeth. 1988. “Jargon Defines In- and Out-groups: Interviews with Three Youths, who have Mapped off their Turf”. The Ottawa Citizen, 30 August.

Wells, Paul. 1990. “Saxophonist Mulligan’s Playing Sterling, Writing is Masterful”. The Gazette Montreal, 19 November.

Secondary sources

Catlin, Roger. 1989. “Rap Music Cools its Aggressive Strut”. The Edmonton Journal, 27 August.

Chidley-Hill, John. 2013. “Rascalz’s Hit Single Northern Touch Still Notorious After 15 Years”. The Globe and Mail. 14 May. Online: (accessed 1 February 2018).

Clairmont the Second. 2017. “Clairmont the Second: I’m working on everything myself now. I control where this goes”. Interview by Mokanan, Adulis “Chedo”. The Come Up Show, November 2017. Online: (accessed 30 January 2018).

Davis, Sandra D., and Monice Mitchell. 1990. “Rap Lyrics Challenge for Parents”. The Edmonton Journal, 24 June.

De Kosnik, Abigail. 2016. Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1995. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Enwezor, Okwui. ed. 2008. Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art. Göttingen: Steidl/ICP.

Foucault, Michel. 1969. The Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Routledge.

Henry, Frances, and Carol Tator. 2002. Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-language Press. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Jackson, Rosa. 1990. “Hip Hop is Happening for the Beat Boys”. The Edmonton Journal, 13 March.

Kardinal Offishall. 2015. “Kardinal Offishall Talks Early Career Beginnings, Staying Humble, and Building upon Toronto’s Legacy”. Interview by Mokanan, Adulis “Chedo”. The Come Up Show, 2015. Online: (accessed 30 January 2018).

Kashmere, Brett, ed. 2010. “Cache Rules Everything Around Me”. In Incite# 2: Counter-Archive. Online: (accessed 10 July 2018).

Lambert, Steve. 2018. “Tina Fontaine had Drugs, Alcohol in System when She was Killed: Toxicologist”. The Globe & Mail, 30 January.

Lena, Jennifer C. 2012. Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Lepage, Mark. 1989i. “No Bum Rap from New York Singer Shinehead”. The Gazette Montreal, 25 May.

Mbembe, Achille. 2002. “The Power of the Archive and its Limits”. In Refiguring the Archive, edited by Carolyn Hamilton, Verne Harris, Michèle Pickover and Grame Reid, 19–27. Netherlands: Springer.

McKittrick, Katherine. 2014. “Wait Canada Anticipate Black”. The CLR James Journal 20/1-2: 243–49.

Mistry, Anupa. 2017. “Jazz Cartier Wins a 2017 Juno Award, Says Canadian Radio Should ‘Stop Bullshitting’”. Fader. 2 April. Online: (accessed 1 February 2018).

Nelson, Ron. 2017. “I Was There! The Evolution of Hip Hop Radio in Canada”. Northside Hip Hop Archive, Canadian Heritage and Ryerson University. Toronto, 30 March 2017. Online:

Nelson, Charmaine A. ed. 2010. Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Philip, Marlene Nourbese. 1997. A Genealogy of Resistance: and Other Essays. Toronto: Mercury.

Potter, Mitch. 1989a. “Ice-T Sheds Crime Rap to Rhyme Rap and Shoot for Top with Hip-hop Bop”. The Toronto Star, 9 June.

Salem, Rob. 1985. “Irrestible [sic] Breakin’ Film Dishes up Mindless Fun”. The Toronto Sunday Star, 20 January.

Staples, David. 1990. “The Art of the Vandal”. The Edmonton Sunday Journal, 8 July.

Stewart, Anthony. 2010. “Ignoring the Pool: De-Mystifying Race in Canada through Practice”. In Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada, edited by Charmaine A. Nelson, 142–66. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Stoler, Ann Laura. 2009. Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Troper, Harold Martin. 1972. “The Creek-Negroes of Oklahoma and Canadian Immigration 1909–11”. Canadian Historical Review 53/3: 272–88.

Walcott, Rinaldo. 2003. Black Like Who? Writing Black Canada, 2nd rev. edn. Toronto: Insomniac Press.