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By: Dameon Okposio

“She told me to walk this way, talk this way!” It was 1986 and the hip hop group Run-DMC collaborated with the rock group Aerosmith for a blend of rock and hip hop in a song that seemed radical for that time in history. I was a creative ten-year-old in grade six at St. Leonard’s Catholic elementary school. The school was located at 100 Ravel Road in North York, Ontario, and the progressive teachers there fostered the creativity in students.

That song stood out to me as a moment in time and I became heavily influenced by Run-DMC to write music and perform rap. I began rapping original songs at school with friends and performed for whoever would listen at recess. Over the years I would refine my music writing abilities and loosely formed a band with friends. As we got older, we got better at writing and performing, often performing at school or at house parties.

Our hip hop group formalized to five members, and we called ourselves E.P. which stood for Effervescent Play. We were all playful animated characters, and it best described us as a collective. I admittedly was the least lyrically talented of the group. I was good, but the other members were extremely talented in their own particular specialty, whether it was rhyming fast or writing great lyrics. What I lacked in musical prowess, I made up in organization, management and finding opportunities.

I was sixteen at the time and learned about a music festival in Toronto that was also a competition. It was taking place in the stadium at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) on May 7, 1992. We all wrote our own lyrics and combined them together to make our best written song to date, at that time. We went onstage near the end of the festival after dozens of bands, in front of a packed stadium and blew them away. At the end of our performance, the crowd erupted, and it was a euphoric experience.

A couple of days later, I received a letter at home stating that our group had won as the best band at the festival. It was another wonderful experience. It was even better letting the other members of the band know. We were invited to meet with the Mayor of Toronto, June Rowlands, in her office and collect our prize. We received a cheque for $500.00 (which was a lot of money at that time), and we had a surprise meeting with Sam Sniderman, a Canadian businessman known as “Sam the Record Man.” He was the founder of the Canadian record shop chain called Sam the Record Man and he created the Juno Awards. There were a couple of other bands at the meeting as well; TBTBT (Too Bad to Be True) and Our Lady Peace. We were all offered record contracts.

The unfortunate part was that we did not have formal management and we were not organized. We had a lot of success thrown at us and members started fighting over the cheque we had received. Instead of splitting the cheque equally five ways, we argued over who was better and who should receive a bigger share of earnings. It resulted in our band splitting up and we never signed the record deal. That opportunity and those circumstances never presented themselves again. Watching the careers of the bands that accepted the deal, and seeing their music videos played on MuchMusic was a reminder of how rare great opportunities are. It was a lesson I never forgot. When an opportunity presents itself, take full advantage and go forward with all of your ability because the opportunity may not come again. Since then, I have never forgotten to dream, work hard and document it. – DO 

Dameon Okposio
Dameon Okposio
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I spent my childhood in Foster Care under the Catholic Children’s Aid Society after running away from home at age ten. Using music and art as outlets, I co-founded a hip-hop group called E.P. (the Effervescent Play Posse) during my teens. Our performances, including one at Exhibition Place in Toronto, garnered attention, leading to a record contract offer. By age sixteen, I was living independently and working while exploring entrepreneurship. In my late teens, I began investing with a financial advisor, setting the stage for my financial future.
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