With the birth of hip-hop, I identified a style and cultural identity I could contact my individual

This Very first Human being piece was composed by Duke Eatmon, a audio columnist in Montreal. For additional data about CBC’s First Person stories, be sure to see the FAQ.

It was 1979 and I was driving with my parents from my good-grandmother’s household in Montreal’s jap Tetraultville neighbourhood back again to our digs across the metropolis in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

“Now what you hear is not a take a look at, I’m rappin’ to the conquer, and me, the groove and my buddies are gonna consider to shift your feet.”

Rapper’s Delight by New Jersey’s Sugarhill Gang came on the radio and my mothers and fathers and I had been in awe. The track is regarded as the first commercially launched rap history.

But we were not in awe because they had been rapping.

Owning gone to James Brown live shows at a few a long time old with my mother and father who were being younger and hip, we were utilized to listening to rhythmic conversing above music. Brown, Pigmeat Markham, The Last Poets and Isaac Hayes all rapped on some of their data. To rap was old Black American jargon dating back again to the 1930’s. In jazz hipster speak, it meant just that, to chat.

What truly astonished my mothers and fathers and me about this funky ditty was that it was 15 minutes extensive.

It was not two months into Grade 4 that nearly anyone knew the lyrics word for phrase. I dove into hip-hop tradition with my buddies like it was our really personal punk movement.

It changed the way we dressed. I wore suede pumas, in regardless of what color I could discover on visits to New York City, with fat laces. Adidas shell toes ended up worn with no laces at all. Jeans had to be Levi’s or Lee’s. Lee pinstripe denims obtained you a reward in the refreshing section.

We wore Cazal designer glasses, ski masks (I still haven’t figured that out), bomber jackets or sheepskin coats with the matching Yosemite Sam hat, as well as Kangol hats that resembled the lid Sherlock Holmes wore.

My close friends Larry, Winston, Jason, Carlise and the whole block of homies on Sherbrooke Road concerning Benny Avenue and Cavendish Boulevard all experienced been bitten by the hip-hop bug.

And there was that name, Butcher T. The regional legend cut up the data, as we mentioned in hip-hop.

By 1983, Montreal hip-hop heads like me ended up fiending for just one of his mixtapes.

I became obsessed with this mysterious area DJ who was rocking all the parties and was deemed the best in Montreal spinning this rap thing.

Butcher T brought the art of looping crack beats to Montreal following looking at the strategy at a party in Queens. (Submitted by Anthony Scharschmidt)

I finally arrived confront to confront with Butcher T in the summer months of 1984 at Trenholme Park in NDG. It was the Saturday of the Caribbean Leap Up, now termed Carifiesta.

At the conclude of the parade there was usually a get together. 1 of my close friends yelled to me, “Butch is on the 1s and 2s!” I ran over to see him carry out.

I was astonished. Butch was cutting up the new hit solitary Human Conquer Box by the Disco 3, who would quickly modify their name to the Fats Boys.

Butch was scratching, cutting, looping and back-monitoring the file with the extraordinary ease and precision that he’d exhibited on Club 980 — the Saturday night time radio display on CKGM hosted by Michael Williams — and on all those mixtapes that I had been buying and selling my lunch for.

But aside from his mind-blowing turntable tips, it was his physical physical appearance that struck me.

He was light-weight-skinned, tall, slim and — apart from his time on the turntables — reduced essential. He appeared like an older edition of me.

Two men pose for a photo.
Duke Eatmon and Anthony Scharschmidt, a.k.a. Butcher T. (Submitted by Duke Eatmon)

I was 14, he was 20. Butcher T was a superhero I could establish with. He could reduce up records with relieve and defeat opposing DJs in the name of musical justice.

I’ve prolonged been fascinated by the 1950’s sexual and social revolution named rock ‘n’ roll and the tunes rebels that led it. And my favourite period of audio arrived out of the counterculture ten years of the 1960s. But Woodstock occurred two months right before I was born.

While I loved to dance and was one particular of the funkiest polyester sporting, afro sportin’ 8-yr-olds you’ve at any time observed, I was a 10 years much too young to be permitted in New York’s Studio 54 or even Montreal’s Lime Light club.

With hip-hop, I experienced a fashion, political, social, cultural and musical identification that I could phone my very own.


As hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, CBC Montreal is hunting into the previous, present and upcoming of Quebec’s hip-hop scene, starting with crucial figures who aided unfold the society across the province and Canada.

CBC Montreal’s dialogue about hip-hop in Quebec will carry on with a particular “Golden Period” edition of The Bridge on Sept 23.


For a lot more tales about the activities of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to good results tales within the Black group — check out out Being Black in Canada, a CBC task Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read far more tales in this article.

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