Edmonton’s past Poet Laureate. 3 time Polaris prize nominee and winner. Boy Wonder – Cadence Weapon is here on Thursday and you can not miss out on this show. Cadence Weapon is also shooting his new video in our beautiful Hamilton this Weds (Nov 14th) and Thursday at the show – if you’d like to be an actor / extra email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Playing along side Cadence Weapon are hometown heroes: Canadian Winter unplugged with Haolin Munk. Anyone who was at the first Canadian Winter + Haolin Munk show at The Brain a few months ago knows how wonderful the two bands sound together. Canadian Winter are currently playing without a DJ and have been focusing on live instrumentation and the progress is just beautiful. Also playing are DJ heavy weights Motem, and Elaquent. These are some of Hamiltons absolute finest playing along side one of Canada’s best rappers – for you on a Thursday night. Life is good.
I was able to catch up with Cadence Weapon before his show this Thursday and ask him a few questions.
How is your tour going?
Great. It’s been really fun having Fat Tony and Tom Cruz playing these shows with us and it’s been a really cool experience playing very rap specific shows after touring with rock bands so much. Brooklyn was a totally insane show. Austin was really great. The whole Canadian leg was a dream, I look forward to hitting Canada again in particular very soon. The love I got from the fans was amazing and the shows have been really raucous and unpredictable.
I believe you were in Washington the night of the US election, what was that like?
That was a very special night. I’ve always enjoyed moments when people’s spirits are synchronized. You know, like on New Years Eve when everyone is trying to have the best night ever? Or when you watch the Olympics and know that most people in the world are watching the same thing as you? It felt special like that. After the show we roamed the streets as a big group. Visualize if you will a crew of black rapper dudes sarcastically screaming out “ROMNEY!” to confused though jubilant people on the streets of Washington. That was us.
How is your music received in the ‘states? Is it safe to say that the stigma of ‘Canadian Rap’ is gone due to the success of rappers like yourself and Drake and a few others before you?
It’s by no means easy for me to tour the States as a Canadian rapper, Drake or no Drake. Making the kind of rap I make, there isn’t exactly a previous trail for me to follow. That said, it’s been fun sharing my ideas with new people. My nationality doesn’t factor into it once people have seen me play. They just know it’s a dope rap show.
Hope in Dirt City is a fantastic album; I’ve been listening to on the regular for a while. It’s been well received across the board and it was recognized by Polaris Canada. Congratulations. Can you tell me about your approach to this, your third, album?
I wanted to make something that was more organic than my previous albums so I took to writing songs for a live band, sampling those live sessions and then sampling them after to make the beats I rapped over. I’m very happy with how the album turned out.
One of my personal favourite songs of yours, and in general these days, is Conditioning. In this song you talk about conditioning in the physical sense, as in working out. Running, weight lifting, basketball, boxing.. etc. Do you work out?
I used to work out a lot but haven’t been as consistent lately. I play basketball a lot. DJ Co-op, who plays shows with me, is really into fitness so we’ve started bringing weights with us on tour. My plan is to be a really muscular old man rapper like Melle Mel.
Conditioning also refers to the weather and the elements, and getting prepared to deal with what mother nature throws at you. How do the winters of your hometown of Edmonton compare to the winters in your new home in Montreal?
They’re both pretty brutal but in different ways. In Edmonton, there isn’t a lot of snow. It’s just extremely cold, dry and windy. In Montreal, there is a large amount of snow and it’s a very wet cold that gets into your soul and really just freezes your core. So technically, it is colder in Edmonton by degrees but it actually feels colder in Montreal.
Reading through your Twitter I noticed a lot of mention of Rick Ross. What do you make of the Rick Ross vs. Freeway Rick Ross identity theft scandal? www.xxlmag.com
Even though the story of Rick Ross’ identity has been circulating on the internet for some time – most major media outlets, as well as the fans, choose to ignore it. Similar ‘name sake’ scandals have happened in hip hop many times but I believe that this is the first case of an entire identity and persona being lifted. What do you think about this? Any thoughts from a fellow Rick Ross listener?
Despite the fact that almost everything he says is totally made up, Rick Ross’s music has improved exponentially since this controversy happened. It seems to have really pushed him to go full- on with the persona. I think this isn’t really that big of a deal. Artists reinvent themselves all the time. Bob Dylan is not his name and not necessarily who he really is. All I care about is if the music is cool.
Authenticity is overvalued in music, especially in the internet age where people are more likely to listen to something if the back story interests them rather than if the music is actually good.
You’ve held regular DJ nights for some time. How does DJing compare to performing hip hop? What do you like to spin? Any new music recommendations for Happening Hamilton readers?
DJing is more of a relaxation thing for me. It’s cathartic for me. I like playing rap that is extremely well-produced. DJ Quik is probably my favourite producer. He has a new song called “In Hollywood” I really like. I’m obsessed with the new Tame Impala album. The new Pat Jordache song “Steps (Damaged Goods)” is really good. The Kendrick Lamar album has been on repeat in the tour van. The album Sebenza by LV is totally cool South African electronic rap.
You went from working for Pitchfork and reviewing albums to being the Poet Laureate of Edmonton – that’s quite the career jump. What was the Poet Laureate experience like for you?
It was a very unique position. It felt like an extension of my life as a rapper, just being the chronicler of events for Edmonton and the arts ambassador for the city. It was a great opportunity to write in a different way.
What’s next for Cadence Weapon?
Temporary hibernation, then renewal as a fiery bird of rap renaissance.