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Toronto Police Shut Down NXNE Hip-Hop Showcase Featuring Rich Kidd, Tre Nyce; Cite 'Potential Gang Rivalry'
- Posted on Jun 14th 2012 10:05AM by Jason MacNeil
"It's unfortunate that the event was shut down but I think it's even more unfortunate how hip-hop is stereotyped. I feel last night could of been a dope, positive showcase of Canadian talent. A lot of the artists on the bill including myself are involved in community programs such as The Remix Project and The Loft Sound Studio that deter that kind of shit. Even though the past few weeks in Toronto have been crazy, we MC's are here to spread that love and have fun."
The first night of bar-hopping as part of Toronto's NXNE was dampened Wednesday with news Toronto Police nixed a hip-hop showcase featuring breaking rapper/producer Rich Kidd before it even began.
"We're very sorry to announce that tonight's Smashmouth showcase at The Rivoli has been cancelled for reasons beyond our control," NXNE's official site said in a brief statement. "The venue has pulled the show because of security concerns."
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, and at the request of the Toronto Police and the Toronto Gang Unit, we regret to announce that our NXNE 'SmashMouth Mentality" showcase scheduled for June 13 at Rivoli has been cancelled," a post to SmashMouth Entertainment's Facebook page said mere hours before the event.
The concert, which was being put on by SmashMouth Entertainment, was to feature Rich Kidd, Tre Nyce, T.Shirt, Denzil Porter, The Antiheroes and Notes to Self among others. But things started going awry hours before the doors were to open at 8 p.m.
A "Please stay tuned for an official announcement regarding our #smashmouthmentality showcase," a tweet read on SmashMouth's Twitter account late Wednesday afternoon. Shortly thereafter SmashMouth tweeted: "The Hip Hop police do exist..even in Toronto" before later adding "The cops can hate but I'll always put on for the homies."
"Damn, our #SmashMouthMentality Showcase would have been the best #NXNE event by far....this sucks," they tweeted a little after 11 p.m. Eastern and then replying to a tweet with "unfortunately people are still stereotyping a misunderstood culture #HipHop."
Brenden Hewko of SmashMouth Entertainment said in an email response to Spinner he was notified of the cancellation around 4 p.m.
"The explanation that I was given was that the Toronto Police and Toronto Gang Unit received information regarding artists on my showcase bill about potential gang affiliation which lead them to believe that a potential 'gang rivalry' could occur leading to gang violence," Hewko said. Hewko also said an official statement from SmashMouth would be sent out later today (June 14).
Sha Prince, a member of The Antiheroes, expressed his dismay late Wednesday evening in response to a tweet. "hip hop police man smh shut down no reason given...they do what they want I guess lol," he said late Wednesday evening. He also said he "didn't even get inside the venue yo lol."
The Rivoli repeated the show was cancelled on its Twitter account and adding that it was "for reasons beyond our control" and they were "very sorry."
While NXNE organizers made no other announcement, various tweets by some of the artists on the scheduled bill including Denzil Porter and Rich Kidd said they were hoping that another venue, The Crawford on College Street, could serve as a last-minute solution for some of the acts.
Some fans took to their Twitter accounts to express their displeasure with the decision, including Bryan Espiritu who said "Toronto Police are grossly skewed in thinking Hip-Hop = Negativity." In a string of tweets Espiritu said he personally knew three of the artists.
"What reason do the Toronto Gang Unit have to shut down a music showcase? By shutting down a Hip-Hop showcase you're not preventing gang violence, you're insinuating that gang violence is synonymous with Hip-Hop," he said. "The Toronto Police should shut down Bath & Bodyworks to prevent a city wide zombie attack."
Although there was no specific reason given as to exactly why the show was nixed, the cancellation may have indirectly been connected to the tragic shooting June 2 at Toronto's Eaton Centre which left two people dead and five others wounded.
In early April one man was shot and injured during a Young Jeezy concert at Toronto's Sound Academy. There was another shooting the next night at Jeezy's show in London, Ontario.