It’s not every day that CBC Radio One host Stephen Quinn gets called a “homie” on the air. But it happened on The Early Edition on June 16 when he was interviewing Maestro Fresh Wes in advance of the Black Culture Celebration at Sunset Beach Park in Vancouver.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with an outdoor concert featuring Maestro, along with a long list of other artists. The other headliners include Kardinal Offishall, Rascalz, and Choclair.
“Man, I’m getting excited thinking I’m going to be coming back to the Fresh Coast,” Maestro told Quinn. “It’s going to be awesome.”
The 55-year-old has been called the Godfather of Canadian hip-hop, in part because of the success of his debut album, Symphony in Effect. After it was released in 1989, this disc became the first by a Black Canadian artist to go platinum. He followed that up with another successful album, The Black Tie Affair, in 1991.
During his interview with Quinn, Maestro revealed that he lived for five years in Vancouver. He also said that his son was born in St. Paul’s Hospital.
The hip-hop star called Quinn “homie” as he was bidding goodbye. The word homie is slang used to express friendship between two people.
The CBC host then played Maestro’s hit single, “Let Your Backbone Slide”, from Symphony in Effect.
Watch the video for “Let Your Backbone Slide”.
Black Music Month
Meanwhile, the event at Sunset Beach comes in the midst of Black Music Month.
On May 31, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation to this effect, pointing out that much of Black music is “rooted in African rhythms, coupled with the experience of slavery and struggle in America”.
“Barred from expressing themselves in their native tongues, enslaved people developed a language to articulate their hopes, dreams, sense of loss, and tenacity to overcome the harrowing nature of their lives,” Biden said. “They used music to strategically and creatively voice their most deeply held feelings.
“Today, the creative ways that Black music tells stories of trial and triumph in American life continue to move us all to understand the common struggles of humanity,” the president continued. “Spirituals, gospel, the blues, R&B, rock and roll, jazz, pop, rap, hip-hop, and more have molded American culture and given rise to new American art forms emulated around the globe.”
The Black Culture Celebration in Vancouver also coincides with Juneteenth. It’s a U.S. federal holiday, falling on June 19, commemorating the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans. On that day in 1865, a proclamation freed Black slaves in Texas.