The Get Loose Crew formed in the 1980’s and was the first Canadian rap group to independently finance, produce and secure distribution of an authentic Hip-Hop mini-LP that was the first to sell outside Canada. They created their own independent label East Park Productions and achieved international sales. The group charted in the top ten against uncontested legends in the genre and are recognized as pioneers in Canadian Hip-Hop music.
Established in 1986 by Chris “DJ Jel” Jackson after previous iterations, the group included rapper Kory Neely aka MC Shadow and Len Grant-Stuart aka Mix-Master Len. The Get Loose Crew took on additional rapper MC B (Carl Badwa) joining prior to the release of their album.
The release engrained them in the Toronto music scene and Canada also, with their self-titled album Get Loose Crew. After signing a distribution deal with Electric Distribution – (ZGARKA-KAYE Distribution Ltd.), the Get Loose Crew accomplished becoming the first Canadian rap group to produce an internationally distributed Hip-Hop record.
Despite success on local urban music charts, being featured on television in Canada, receiving radio airplay across country and in the United States the group did not release a follow up project.
The Get Loose Crew disbanded in 1990, its members forming notable groups, continued achievements and making contributions to the music industry.
While Hip-Hop (Rap) was establishing its roots in the music industry in New York City, the epicentre for the genre in the United States, three classmates and friends were finding their place in a neighborhood in Toronto Canada.
Chris Jackson, Kory Neely and Len Grant-Stuart were classmates at Valley Park Junior High School and grew up together in Flemingdon Park on the city’s east side.
During lunch hours in their junior high school, kids would engage in impromptu rap battles in the cafeteria. It was at age 14 that Neely’s quick wit and rhyming skills were discovered. Neely would rattle off rhyming verses in response to insults from challengers as onlookers would cheer and pound beats on tables and windows.
Jackson recognized everyone’s excitement and Neely’s talent. He encouraged the idea for the two of them to team up with Grant-Stuart and form a DJ sound crew.
In the spring of 1984, the trio formed the DJ group the Def Force Sound Crew, Kory Neely adopted the moniker White Shadow (reference to a 1970’s US television show ‘The White Shadow’) Chris Jackson assumed the name DJ JEL (for his hairstyle and use of gel hair product) and Len Grant-Stuart selected Mix-Master Len (synonymous with Mix-Master Ice of the Hip Hop group UTFO). They (unknowingly) had originally adopted the name Sun City Force Crew, only to drop the name out of respect for the political brewing unrest and injustice in South Africa. At that time, mainstream music had formed a supergroup to protest the atrocities in South Africa. The song and video Sun City by “Artists United Against Apartheid” came out around that time and was a protest song to support the cause.
They promptly changed their name to the Def Force Sound Crew acquiring custom pressed baseball caps with the name imprinted on it and sporting Kansas Royals Base Ball team jackets as the unifying apparel for their group. Their act was organized to feature White Shadow MC performing in freestyle rap challenges as they played at their school and community center dances.
They originally performed at dances at their local recreation centre. The events were organized as an evening of music for local youth hosted by a DJ with special performances. These typically would become impromptu mic battles or freestyle challenges on stage where the cheer of the crowd would determine the winner. This consisted of unrehearsed rapping, often off the top of their head without a predetermined set of lyrics, while a DJ in the background would play an instrumental version of a song and enable the MC to present his or her vocals.
From 1984 and beyond, Shadow would always seen writing lyrical compositions and collaborating with Jackson, who was beginning to develop his skills structuring song arrangements as a producer. The symbiotic relationship saw Neely writing lyrical compositions, performing them for Jackson then they would research beats and samples that could be used to create the songs. They spent hours in Jackson’s basement where he had set up two turntables and a mixer on a desk with home speakers for sound. Eventually he added a small four track mixer and a drum machine to construct a makeshift home studio.
Appearing as a guest act at local underground parties through 1985 to 1987 the trio organized their act to feature White Shadow MC performing in freestyle rap challenges while DJ Jel and Mix-Master Len were the groups DJ’s. Len would later take on the role as a Hype man for the group’s performances.
DJ Jel has commented (interview with Breaking Records Jan 13, 2016) that during his High School days he would take off (in addition to weekends) and go record shopping, hunting for the latest releases of US artists and building his impressive musical library of vinyl.
Due to being teenagers in school with limited money, Len and Jel would share the music equipment with each other to complete a “DJ Set” for each of them to play and develop their skills. This often meant carrying a turntable under one arm and a crate of records under the other while walking from end of their neighborhood to the other.
In 1987 the group changed their name to the ‘Get Loose Crew’ and Neely reduced his White Shadow MC moniker to MC Shadow as lead vocals and they began self-producing studio recorded demo tapes for airplay.
As an established local underground rap group, the neighbourhood friends had crafted something unique to offer, with their lead vocalist being a white rapper. At that time in Hip-Hop in Toronto and the music scene in general this commodity for a group was rare.
Jackson is credited for the creation of the group’s name the Get Loose Crew. “It comes from Doug E. Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew. The Get Fresh Crew had two DJ’s and we had two DJ’s.” He is also credited with his contribution to the origination of the name of the groups label East Park Productions.
There were no aspirations to create a top selling record or be a hit Hip-hop group. They only wanted to get their polished product showcased over the local airwaves along with other local artists.
The newly formed group began working in various recording studios, self-producing studio recorded demo tapes to submit to major record labels and for airplay on Ryerson University’s (then Ryerson College) Campus Radio Station CKLN 88.1 – Fantastic Voyage Program hosted by radio broadcast pioneer Ron Nelson.
They recorded their first studio demo tape in Aurora, Ontario (August 15, 1986), a song called “Licence to Slice” (written July 26, 1986) and submitted to Nelson’s Saturday afternoon program which received airplay and was added to the rotation.
Jackson, who was actively mastering his skills as a DJ and amateur producer charted the course for the group and led the way on the production of the Get Loose tracks, later to be recorded in studio and released as a record.
With only one small independent Canadian Hip Hop record label (Beat Factory Records – Pickering, Ontario) in existence at the time, and their roster filled with artists already, the prospect of joining Beat Factory seemed impractical.
A successful impromptu underground freestyle rap battle set the stage for their pursuit of a recording project that would leave their mark in Hip Hop music history in Canada and in the world.
In 1986, in an underground basement party reflective of scenes portrayed in Eminem’s movie “8 Mile” the motivation for the crew to release their record transformed. Local artist MC Rumble was entertaining the crowd and taking on challenges in freestyle rap battles. Shadow was encouraged by the crowd to participate so he took the mic and a battle ensued. Not only a skilled rapper, Shadow had adopted some skills as a DJ and could also Beat box. During the ensuing battle, Shadow delivered the lyric “check it out party people it’s a white beat box” and began improvising with the sounds of human music percussion that shocked the crowd and startled his opponent. Partygoers were chanting a call for the two MC’s to officially battle it out on stage at the Concert Hall. The Toronto Concert Hall (Masonic Temple) was regarded as the temple for Hip-Hop music performances in Canadian rap history.
Rumble had recently signed a music deal with GEE Street Records in the UK and was disinterested in the prospect of a staged rap battle between the two. He had established himself as a talented artist, having already performed at the concert hall with his DJ, Jam on Strong, performing as TO Vice and handily destroying opposing rap groups from the United States at an annual event called Monster Jam.
Instead, Rumble (aka Dave Morgan) encouraged Neely and his crew, to focus on making a recording and not participating in staged events. “Battling is just a waste of time. Focus on your music. Take that energy and make a record. If you wanna battle…, do it on vinyl.”
Shortly after that, the Get Loose Crew took on additional rapper MC B (Carl Badwa) who was a local artist from his recently disbanded group Beats & Rhymes. As a performer on the Beat Factory label, he was disenfranchised with the delay in releasing his material and departed to join the group in 87’ prior to the release of their album in 1988.
With the record nearly completed prior to Badwa joining, and soon to be released they decided to avoid any delay of re-recording the entire project by dropping an existing song and adding a newly recorded single track (Wannabe) to include MC B on the record.
Undiscouraged by the Industry’s position in Canada to not sign local talent, the group relentlessly pursued a recording contract with all major Canadian Record Labels, but to no avail. Undeterred by the lack of interest, the decision was made to form their own independent label, secure distribution and manufacture the record locally. This resulted in the self-financed production and creation of Canada’s first internationally distributed Hip-Hop recording.
The group decision was pool their earnings form their part time jobs at McDonalds and to form the independent label ‘East Park Productions’ which was adopted from the nick name for Flemingdon Park at the time. In the song “Get Loose Crew”, Shadow recites “we’re from the East Park where the parties kick, if you come to cause trouble you must be sick. The Park ain’t violent cuz we rarely fight. We save the fights for the day and we party at night.” The name and song were a tribute to the community being known as a safe haven to congregate for music events and generally hanging out without violent outcomes.
A meeting was arranged with Electric Distribution, (Page 2), at Kennedy Road in Scarborough, Ontario in November 1987. Neely, a teenager at that time attended the meeting on behalf of the group. After much discussion and debate Neely was able to convince executive Dominic Zgarka to enter into a global distribution agreement for their soon to be released record. With the agreement in place prior to December 1987 (endorsed on February 1st, the following year), this established the timeline for the first Canadian rap group to record and release an authentic Hip-Hop mini album internationally.
Canadian vinyl pressing plant CINRAM (located in Markham Ontario), a preeminent manufacturer of commercial and mainstream music records and cassettes was chosen to press the album. This was opposed to the traditional method of manufacturing and importing from New York City. The facility had never fabricated a Hip-Hop record and was not accustomed to the substantial bass contained in the crew’s master reel. This resulted in a disruption of the manufacturing process as assembly line machines pressing lacquer into vinyl could not handle the low-end levels and were severely damaged on two occasions. It resulted in a line shut down of production for a couple of weeks, requiring repair and replacement of the pressing stamps.
After a second delay, the group was contacted by CINRAM and asked to consent to a reduction of the bass contained in the title track “Get Loose Crew” which was the source for the breakage of the plant’s production equalization equipment. They capitulated to the alteration and continued with the order
On March 16th, 1988 after the two significant manufacturing delays and setbacks with labeling issues on the record itself, the Get Loose Crew had finally created and released the first authentic multi track Hip-Hop record (mini-LP) in Canadian history and sold internationally. The product was a first of its kind with photographic layout and credits, (typical only for album projects), though being considered a mini-LP or EP having four individual tracks and accompanying instrumentals. Up to this point only 12” domestic products had been produced without known or recognized distribution; no Canadian Hip-Hop record had been sold outside of Canada.
The record landed on shelves in local iconic locations like Sam the Record Man, Play de Record and other national record stores throughout Canada. Soon after, it was distributed to and sold in the United States market and other Countries throughout the world including: U.S.A, England, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, China and Australia.
The group had unquestionably ingrained itself as part of the music scene in Toronto, Canada and Internationally.
CHEER Music Pool founded by music historian Daniel Calderon, is one of the earliest nationally recognized Canadian national urban music chart supplied by the Cheer DJ Pool of Toronto. They are a nationally acclaimed organization of global disc jockeys which has been in existence for over 20 years.
In May 1988, the CHEER Backfield in motion music chart, listed the Get Loose Crew song “Wannabe” in 5th spot among industry icons:
#1 Kool Moe Dee – “Wild Wild West”
#2 Eric B & Rakim – “Move the crowd”
#3 Finesse & Synquis – “Soul Sisters”
#4 Boogie Down Productions – “My Philosophy”
#5 Get Loose Crew – “Wannabe”
#6 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – “Magic Carpet Ride”
#7 television & movie star ICE-T & Big Daddy Kane – “Colors” Soundtrack for the 1988 film (same name).
The record received airplay across Canada, United States & England with chart success. Niel Scobie Ph.D. Candidate in Media Studies, Western University, London, ON, and a former DJ/Programmer at CiTR 101.9 FM and Creator of In Effect; – Vancouver’s first radio program dedicated solely to Hip-Hop music, posted a station log which included the Get Loose Crew. Scobie has stated that he played the album a lot and featured it on his show during his time at the station.
One of the group’s greatest achievements was receiving airplay on New York City’s radio airwaves; in large part with support from artist KRS One (Lawrence “Kris” Parker) of Boogie Down Productions, who was a big supporter of Canadian Hip-Hop in the 1980’s.
The groups vicinity to chart success by rapper Kool Moe Dee in Canada would bring them in proximity again in terms of a potential clothing endorsement.
Established in NYC, British Knights (Schwartz Shoes Inc.), was a small, family-owned company with four generations of experience in the footwear industry who took their cues from the fresh new energy of hip hop music and the explosive colors of graffiti art. Rappers everywhere were trying to be associated with or be the first to sport the newest unseen or inaccessible brand of shoes and other apparel.
In a February 1988 letter from Shadow to British Knights (BK), he strove to solicit a clothing endorsement for the group. Larry Schwartz (nephew of founder Jack Schwartz) responded to his letter by advising that the company were already engaged in a campaign for rapper Kool Moe Dee and not taking on any other commitments. In recognition of the groups support for the BK brand, Schwartz sent a box containing exclusive pieces of British Knights apparel (not available in Canada) for the group to wear at performances, interviews, and other events.
The gesture was welcomed as an unofficial and informal recognition from the company and an exclusive opportunity for the group to promote the brand north of the border. This initiative is the first and only known form of endorsement or support by a clothing manufacturer of a Canadian Hip-Hop group.
In 1988, The Get Loose Crew were featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) variety & comedy TV talk show Switchback hosted by comedian Eric Tunney. They were interviewed by Tunney and performed their album’s title track “Get Loose Crew”. During the interview with Host Tunney, Shadow served as the group’s spokesman and discussed the emerging music genre sweeping the nation while featuring their British Knights apparel.
STREETSOUND – Canada’s National Dance Music Authority, magazine; a national publication, featured a piece called CAN – CON Canadian Rap Update by Johnbronski Adams distinguishes the group. “The Get Loose Crew ride on the success of their first EP distributed by Electric, produced by their own production company East Park Production – four young brothers down together, motivating each other to secure a wider berth for rap music to settle in Canada.”
The June 1988 article featured the group and discussed the growing popularity of rap music. The story explored the evolution of Hip-Hop and the frustration and challenges faced in Canada’s music scene. When asked about being pioneers in a genre of music in its infancy and the relevance of the artist’s performance, MC Shadow commented: “When people come to a show, they’re critical. They come to see a performance. It’s got to be rockin’ from beginning to end. It has to be an organized performance, unlike four years ago, when everybody would just jam.”
BlogTo, (September 2014) an online magazine in Toronto, published an article that included the Get Loose Crew album as part of their compiled “10 most collectable Toronto albums of all time” list.
The group secured local promoter; Rawle James, a music industry A&R representative and record label professional. It proved difficult to source a venue for the group to perform. They had raised their profile to professional recording artists but lacked the support of experienced industry professionals to guide and elevate their status. This contributed to the frustration and ultimate demise of the group.
The two most significant performances were at Twilight Zone, Richmond St. W., Toronto and Concert Hall (Masonic Temple) Yonge Street Toronto.
The group’s performance was on a Saturday night in May 1988 and set up by James. The crew attended earlier in the day for photos and a sound check, then returned later that evening arriving in a limo with their personal security. The club had never had a Hip-Hop group perform and there was some hesitance due to an earlier performance in 1982 by the Beastie Boys resulting in graffiti on the walls of the club. The club agreed and the GLC performance went off without any known issues.
Located at the corner of Yonge Street and Davenport Road, the Concert Hall is regarded as the temple for Hip-Hop music in Canada. It has hosted the biggest names in the genre during the earliest years of many artists’ careers – Canadian and American.
In the 1980’s Toronto served as the epicenter of Canadian Hip-Hop music and hosted rap battles (dubbed Monster Jams) with established US performers. In 1988 the rap battles changed from primarily NYC artists and expanded to invite talents from other US cities. In trying to organize a pending “Philadelphia vs. Toronto Battle”, Alric Hutchison a local promoter involved in the events, proposed a contest to the management team between Fresh Prince (Will Smith) and MC Shadow. This was to include DJ Jel versus DJ Jazzy Jeff and a showdown with S-Blank as a beat box to battle Ready Rock C. The invitation was ultimately declined by Smith’s management team in part based upon the successful launch of his, then recent, album release “Parents Don’t Understand”.
August 1st, 1988 the Get Loose Crew took the stage on the list of performers for Caribana Shock-Out ’88 and performed the title track of their album to a packed audience.
Despite success on local urban music charts, being featured on television in Canada and radio airplay in the United States the group did not release a follow up project.
Subsequently, group members disbanded to pursue solo projects pioneering independent industry achievements.
The group eventually disbanded in the fall of 1989. Neely and Badwa (MC B) teamed up as a rap duo Double Trouble. The two worked on preproduction material and despite several studio sessions, recording was not fully completed and prior to any release the duo separated to pursue solo efforts.
While MC B was pursuing his solo career as (rebranded) B-Kool, Shadow began working with DJ Jel (Chris Jackson) as his producer on a number of unreleased titles. This included the original Hip-Hop version of “What I’m Sayin” (remixed and released in 1994 with singer Kaye Sargeant) and was heavily sampled with various James Brown songs. They also produced several unreleased titles in October and November 1990 including a Christmas song titled “Frosty the Hitman” that was written but ultimately abandoned in pre-production
Chris Jackson (DJ Jel) teamed up with Get Loose Crew record producer (and artist) Stanley “S-Blank” McCook to form the group Self Defence and joining the roster of independent label Altrax Records. The duo was commissioned to create a single “The New Mania” for a U.S video game developer and toured to promote its release.
They also appeared as part of the campaign for an urban music radio station recording on the single “Can’t Repress the Cause” in 1990.
They performed and were featured regularly on the television music program Electric Circus and Extendamix, hosted by Master T (Tony Young). Over time a tour was established and promoted featuring Self-Defence and uniting them with former GLC members MC B (now B-Kool) and MC Shadow, who served as opening act for their show under the group name JUST Me.
After the dissolution of Self Defence, McCook continued as a local musician and Jackson progressed contributing to the Canadian Hip-Hop Industry in artist development, management and promotion. He appeared as a host on Campus Radio and works with the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation).
Jackson is credited as the brainchild for the formulation of the CBC Hip-Hop Summit held in 2011 at the prestigious Glen Gould Studio in Toronto. With a goal to unite the founders of Canadian Hip-Hop, his continued commitment to the genre enabled him to unify pioneers from coast to coast in an exclusive single concert event. The evening was a red-carpet event, hosted by artist Buck 65, with decades of old memorabilia being showcased and performances by established and up & coming talent.
Jackson’s established music production skills were featured and recognized among many of Canadas Hip-Hop artists. Most notably it is his contribution to the catalog of Maestro Fresh Wes where he is tributed and referenced in the song “Stick to your vision”, from the album Built to Last, released in 1998. The song readily recognized for the sample of “These Eyes” by The Guess Who contains the lyrics “but let’s go back to eighty-eight Flemington [Flemingdon], Don Mills and [Eglinton] Negleton Makin’ beats with S and [Jel] gellin’ [and] them.” The publishers have not accurately documented the words correctly from the lyrics sheets or songs references. The correct words have been included in parenthesis.
In his later years, known as Chris “Got-Rocks” Jackson, he established EasPark Pro (a play on the name East Park Productions) where he is the Creative Director, working with and developing new artists and the furtherance of Canadian Hip-Hop.
In addition to being a host on the satellite Radio Station Maximum FM based in Toronto, he participated in the launch of MAX Now TV Music Channel set to replace the void left by the defunct Much Music program that served as a launch pad for Canadian Hip-Hop artists.
A notable attribute about Len Grant-Stuart (Mix-Master Len) was his striking resemblance towards his music hero Darryl McDaniels better known as DMC of the iconic rap group Run-DMC. This was notable and referenced often within the Toronto scene. Ironically, when the two (Len and Darryl) were at a local record store in Toronto for a Run-DMC autograph session, they decided to mug it up together, for photos. It was one of his most treasured memories of those times.
Len left the music industry to focus on his family and career in the private sector. He discontinued his artistic pursuits and public appearances in 1990 with the disbandment of the Get Loose Crew.
In October 2019 he passed away after battling a lengthy illness.
MC Shadow having achieved notoriety with the Get Loose Crew as the first white rap artist in Canada, second internationally to Def Jam artists Beastie Boys moved on and pursued a solo effort as JUST ME collaborating with female singer and high school friend Kaye Sergeant.
In 1994 they recorded and had released “What I’m Sayin”, which was released in a multi-track CD compilation Mega Dance Volume 1 under Mirgin U.K.A Records. The original recording received the FACTOR new talent demo award in May 1991.
Also, in 1994 the duo released “Do a little Dance” which was featured in a multi-track CD compilation titled America’s Most Wanted – Freestyle 94 (1994),
In 2015 Neely resurrected the dormant indie label East Park Productions with the release of three singles “Resurrection”, “Lost” & “Lullaby of Pain”. The tracks which all feature a video and together form a short film project have received music chart recognition.
Shadow continues to release new music and has had songs from his catalog of unreleased singles featured in a US Television series Front Men and including the show’s soundtrack.
In 1990 after his split from GLC and the subsequent duo Double Trouble with Shadow the music scene in Canada was heating up with demands for an FM licenced urban music station. MC B changed his moniker to B-Kool and joined Simply Majestic as a feature act under Capitol / EMI Records. He then appeared alongside Self Defense (Chris DJ Jel Jackson & Stanley McCook) to participate in the super group Dance Appeal which received a JUNO Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul recording “Can’t Repress the Cause”.
In 1991 he won R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for the song “Dance to the Music” and in 1994 he was nominated for “Gotta Get Over”, from his solo album “Mellow Madness”.
Badwa’s 91 win is ultimately the first rap recording to earn a JUNO award in Canadian Music (and Hip-Hop in Canada) History.
The award is controversial in that it was presented during the afternoon’s non-televised ceremony and should have been in the Rap category. However, Rap Recording of the Year was awarded to Maestro Fresh Wes hours later on the same date during the televised portion of the award ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
In late 2002 B-Kool changed his moniker once again to Don Carlito, and recorded the song “Just like me”, released by Seven Star Productions and featured an appearance by fellow Canadian Hip-Hop artist Maestro Fresh Wes (Wes Williams) on the track and in the music video. Badwa performed the song on the TV program, the Mike Bullard Show and opened for genre legends Run-DMC. Other recordings by Don Carlito include “Asi Como Mi” on the flipside of the 12” LP and in 2013 a new release entitled “Fire” which represented a return to his Hip-Hop roots.
Dj Jel and Get Loose Crew producer formed the group ‘Self-Defence’, while MC Shadow and MC B teamed up as ‘Double trouble’. The duo separated again with MC B changing his name to ‘B-Kool’ as a feature act with Simply Majestic earning a Juno award for the track ‘Dance to the music’.
MC Shadow teamed up with unknown R&B soloist Kaye Sergant to become the first Canadian rapper to be included in a multi-track CD compilation Mega Dance Volume 1 (1991), with “What I’m Sayin”. The original recording having received the FACTOR new talent demo award in May 1991.
In March 2010, the Toronto Free Gallery hosted an exhibit called T-Dot Pioneers: An Exploration of Toronto Hip Hop History and Culture. The exhibit featured items from the birth of Toronto Hip-Hop including old photographs, posters, vinyl, and awards. Featured at the exhibit and prominently displayed was the Get Loose Crew album and the Juno won by Badwa in his solo undertaking as B-Kool with Simply Majestic.
This was the first time in over a decade that Get Loose Crew former members had come together. They gave interviews with the local media providing perspectives on a lost generation of Hip-Hop and confirming roots in a rich local music culture dating back to the early 1980s.
The exhibit coincided with the launch of a new Canadian Hip-Hop website, Northside Hip Hop, which featured Get Loose Crew as pioneers in Canadian Hip-Hop music.
Based upon the foundation and success of the T-Dot Pioneers Exhibit, Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) held a Hip-Hop Summit in 2011 with a live recorded show commemorating the genres history, hosted in the Glenn Gould Studio within the CBC building in Toronto. The celebration was a red-carpet event and displayed items such as photographs, flyers, vinyl cassettes and other paraphernalia now considered artifacts.
Jackson (DJ JEL) was instrumental in proposing the idea for the live recorded show at CBC based upon his continued presence and long-standing relationships in the industry. He brought together and united the founders to create a summit paying respect to Canadian Hip-Hop by documenting its history through performance over several days.
While the crew did not unify for a performance, the group’s album was displayed on the iconic Glenn Gould Studio Wall and in a showcase, with an homage paid to the group on stage by summit host/artist Buck 65 during the closing show.
During an interview with CBC at the summit Neely commented “I was a kid…in high school. I rode on the Kennedy bus; we signed a distribution deal and now 23 years later we are a part of music history. It is an indescribable feeling to realize that we’re not just artists, we are pioneers in Canadian Hip-Hop music, and we have a legacy for all time. Something for Toronto and Canada to be proud of. I am humbled and proud to be part of this page in Canadian music”
Legendary Canadian interviewer and musician Nardwuar (John Ruskin) has been an enthusiastic voice confirming and validating the status of the Get Loose Crew and their accomplishment within the Hip-Hop music industry for years. During interviews with Canada’s most significant and accomplished Hip-Hop artists, he has consistently sought confirmation and recognition for the Get Loose Crew by presenting interviewees with a copy of the record and quizzing them to confirm and acknowledge the groups achievements.
In an interview with Maestro Fresh Wes (June 27, 2008), credited as the Godfather of Canadian Hip-Hop, Nardwuar asks:
“Is this the first Hip Hop record to come out of Canada?” ”Is this before you?” Wes confirms the claim acknowledging: “Yo, definitely this came out before me.” He further validates the significance of the accomplishment by remarking: “Yeah, this is big right here.” (listen to interview set at: 47:40 to 48:20 sec)
The groups notoriety was further recognized in an interview with Kardinal Offishall (2005), credited as Canada’s Hip-Hop Ambassador, where Nardwuar queries him, proclaiming their notable achievement in the Canadian Hip-Hop and Music Industry. (listen to interview set at: 4:55 to 5:50 sec)
Nardwuar promulgated on his social media account with a photo taken by Toronto’s NOW Magazine (photographer Samuel Edelking) for a 2017 article titled Nardwuar breaks down his best and worst interview moments in which he appears in a record store in Toronto holding a copy of the Get Loose Crew album. The post reads “Nardwuar holding the first rap record to come out of Canada in 1988! It’s by The Get Loose Crew!”
Iconic American DJ and record producer DJ Shadow featured the opening intro of the song “Wannabe” in his performance as a form of interaction between himself and DJ Chemist and DJ Numark during the concert Pushing Buttons in Los Angeles, CA in 2002. In the original recording, (used here live by DJ Shadow) MC B calls out to MC Shadow “Yo Shadow, what’s up?” To which he (Shadow) responds “oh man I’m just chillin man’?”
Ranker.com a digital media company located in Los Angeles and a Quantcast Top 50 site in the US listed the Get Loose Crew in 16th spot and MC Shadow at position 17. The site features polls on entertainment, brands, sports, food and culture with over 40 million monthly visitors worldwide.
The Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto undertook an academic study, the first of its kind in Canada, exploring the history of Toronto Hip-Hop in relation to the contributions of artists to the national and cultural history of Canada. The research project focuses on the historical period of 1985 – 2020 tracing the history of Toronto Hip-Hop, and the relationship that Hip-Hop practitioners and culture industry professionals have had to the music marketplace and creative industries in both the City of Toronto and Canada more broadly.
It explores how the Toronto Hip-Hop scene has unfolded over the past thirty-five years, and how the members of this arts community developed an infrastructure to support their artistic expression in spite of industry practices that have limited, excluded, and marginalized their participation in the Canadian music marketplace
Each of the members of the Get Loose Crew were identified as “prominent members of “Toronto’s Hip Hop history and the history of Canada’s culture industries” by Dr. Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert PhD of the Jackman Humanities Institute, at the University of Toronto. She has acknowledged and enshrined their contributions individually and has identified them collectively as “Architects in the Canadian Hip-Hop Music scene” The Get Loose Crews direct contributions, efforts, and memorabilia as Hip-Hop artists from the early years in 1984 through to 2021 have been officially documented into the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA), a joint initiative of CCA, the Provincial and Territorial Archival Networks, and Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
The spring of 2021 saw the official recognition of the Get Loose Crew’s Canadian musical accomplishment. Inducted into the Canadian Museum of Music in Alberta, it signaled the long-awaited official affirmation of the groups contribution in Hip-Hop and ultimately enshrining them as artists in Canadian music.
Tributed in the documentary “Drop the Needle”, the group are featured in a 1987 photograph taken in the basement studio in Jacksons house.
Produced by Canterbury Productions, the film features local iconic record store Play de Record that played an important role in the coming of age of Toronto hip-hop.
While the documentary focuses a lot on Play De Record, it explores some of the history in Toronto’s Hip Hop and features 2 photos associated with the group during a scene narrated by Ron Nelson. The second photo on screen shows Jacksons studio set up with turntables, mixer and speakers while the surrounding walls are covered with posters of American hip hop artists. The scene focuses on Nelson as he explains the challenges artists faced; with a lack of professional studio equipment being the main point.