Chapter 3 - TKO and the Hip Hop Junkie
For grade 10, I decided to go to another school and ended up at David and Mary Thomson on Lawrence Avenue.
Coming from Agincourt, the sound systems were loud, but never over powering. Yet at Thompson I experienced something completely different when it came to music and DJing. I experienced the TKO sound crew.
Their sound system consisted of 4 Cerwin-Vega sub-woofers, two tops and they were running at least two crown amplifiers to power the speakers, and when you walked into the cafeteria, the bass would pound your chest and vibrate your stomach so hard that it would make you feel ill. I loved it!
Agincourt was mainly a House music school, yet Thomson was all hip hop, reggae, r&b with a touch of soca. Not only that, but TKO played differently from Matt C. Equally as talented for rocking parities, they used more of a “drop” style. Where as Matt C. would mix the songs for a minimum of 8 bars, TKO was “dropping” the records. Meaning that you wouldn’t always hear the mix, yet the next song would come in as soon as the previous song ended, on beat and on time, and just “drop”. This added an element of surprise to the party, where as you would have no idea what was coming until it “dropped” and hit the crowd. The audiences response was the same…hands in the air.
I just couldn’t get enough of this sound, and became a TKO school dance junkie and started travelling to other schools in Scarborough that TKO was playing at including Cedarbrae, Vanier and Pope. If we couldn’t get tickets, we would sneak in through fire-exits and back-doors. Wanting to hear more, my friends and I heard of the all-ages parties at Spectrum night-club on Danforth at Main. Since none of us drove, we had to subway it in and we would often arrive before the DJs would show up. With the sub-way closing at 1:00 am, we would have to leave at 12:30 to ensure we caught the last train. I was hooked.
In grade 11, a new kid came to the school, Troy Phillips. Like me, he was a school dance / party junkie and we started hanging out. This kid had the biggest hip hop collection I’ve ever seen and he was the one who really introduced me to artists like De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakim and Tribe Called Quest. I was always aware of these groups, but through Troy, I learned to appreciate them and eventually, that’s all I would listen too. Troy got me hooked on concerts, and I went to see the likes of Tribe Called Quest with Naughty By Nature at Spectrum, KRS-1 at the Opera House, Leaders of the New School and Fu-Schnickens at the Concert Hall, Naughty By Nature at HMV Scarborough Town Centre (I actually got in) and so on. I became a true Hip Hop Junkie.