February 07, 2014


Whether after school or within the curricular music programs, Baddest Beatz provides the necessary equipment and guidance for Toronto youth to make music like the pros do, and...
Baddest Beatz combines computer technology, popular music composition, and modern sound recording techniques. By using mobile  laptops, we can set up and implement our program in almost any space. Through the art of music creation, BB offers a safe environment, engaging youth in an activity that nurtures empowering self-confidence, so key to our life successes and well-being.


With funding from the Canada and Ontario Art Councils, as well as collaborative and logistical support from Success Beyond Limits, Baddest Beatz has been working with the students at Westview Centennial Secondary School, since the fall of 2009. We are now midway through our 5th year, and 5th CD production. All told, over 400 'beaters' have participated.

In the summer 2008, the personnel of the organization that is now Success Beyond Limits hired me to run computer-based music workshops in their summer recreational program for a group of Toronto Jane-Finch community students about to enter into High School.

It was there that it occurred to us that combining commercial music and technology would be a great way to bring music into the radar of kids, who for whatever reasons, might not otherwise pursue musical interests. Once in front of the computer, the ability to be expressive and creative within a relatively short time results in their engagement and motivation.

In my case, music has not only enriched my life, but has emotionally and psychologically sustained me throughout. I can’t imagine it without it. But I was privileged in many ways, and lucky to have attended a school with an fantastic band program. Hopefully Baddest Beatz, can provide spaces and opportunities for youth to similarly connect with music in whatever way they are inspired.

The bigger picture.

On a systemic level, as the years go by, it seems that our socio-political systems have great difficulty accepting the huge amount of research showing how the arts have a particularly relevant and powerful impact regarding self-empowerment, cognitive development and innovative thinking. It is a common argument with many boards of education that in the prioritization of budgets, the arts have to be sacrificed for other more “important” subjects. We cannot, in fact, afford to do this any longer, particularly with underserved, marginalized urban communities. We recommend checking out the work of Ken Robinson [Robinson-ChangingEducation Paradigms] for a presentation of how and why this so.

Creativity, innovation. 

Time and time again, history has shown us that the many socio-economic and political challenges that we face—and that our youth will soon inherit—signify entrenched ways of thinking and policy implementation that are not useful, healthy, or even productive as is often claimed. If we do not encourage creativity and innovation at every level, there is not much hope in moving forwards as a society.

Paradoxically, our educational and social institutions continue to undermine the artistic culture of youth.


Baddest Beatz would not be possible without the resources and help from a great many people to which we are so very grateful but a special acknowledgement and thanks goes out to the Ontario Arts Council, the Regent Park School of Music, the Canada Arts Council, the Westview Centennial and Oakdale Park music teachers and administrative staff, Success Beyond Limits, and John Bailey at the Drive Shed Recording Studios.

A special thanks to Susan Hay and Global News for their interest.