Haisla rappers from Kitimat, Snotty Nose Rez Kids drops its second album.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids
Trapline | Snottynoserezkids.com
Indigenous hip hop act Snotty Nose Rez Kids hail from the Haisla Nation. The duo of rappers Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce emerged from Kitimat in 2017 with the double-banger of its self-titled debut and followup, The Average Savage.
Shortlisted for the 2018 Polaris Music Prize, the Average Savage featured pointedly political tracks such as KKKanada, which aimed directly at institutionalized racism in Canada.
Touring hard, the duo firmly established itself at the forefront of Indigenous hip hop across the country.
Subsequent singles such as the Warriors and Skoden addressed First Nations opposition to pipelines and the accompanying videos were mini works of agitprop art. The award-winning crew drops the new full-length, titled Trapline, this week and it continues the legacy of tight trap beats, fast-spinning lyricism and jams that go down as well on the protest line as they do in the club.
Here are five things to know about the record, which is also certainly deserving of being nominated for Polaris Prize.
1: Drenched in challenges. Not even a minute into the opening tune Rebirth, Yung Tyrbez proclaims “beads on my neck and my ears are stretched/Abnormal, irregular, so unconventional/Are we original? Yes.” It’s the opening salvo in a sprawling 18 track address to all those who would try to classify the group in anything but its own genre. Given that the album opens with a cultural statement about what a Wa_wais (Trapline) is and what the rules are about stewardship of the environment, it’s safe to say that this is not your average rap record.
2: The Skits. The five skits that break up the song order all speak to cultural practices and tradition. Some, such as Mama_o Su_ames, are even delivered in the Haisla language. This is about as far away from the typical bad jokes and profanity-laden snippets that most hip hop fans usually skip over as being just the filler they are. In this case, listen to every one.
3: I Can’t Remember My Name. One of the best tunes on an album with a lot of them, this song rides out along a positively threatening simple looped piano progression until is mutates into a Spartan synth horn pulse as the MCs effortlessly rhyme in comparisons between Kanye, Ojibway and going crazy. Sharp wordplay is a signature of SNRK. The short form of the group name even plays on words as it could spell out snark, because that’s a persistent character of all the lyrics.
4: Hunger Games. A totally unexpected paranoid slow jam all about hustling to survive that announces “young day dreamer, the dream is dead.” By the time the echoing clock tick beats arrive at the end, this is positively horror rap. Building moods is something SNRK is very adept at.
5: Trapline Tour, Pt. 1. After a quick trip to the UK and Rotterdam, the group heads across Canada on the Trapline Tour, Pt. 1. Locals can catch the now Vancouver-based band on May 30 at Fortune Sound Club. But the June 1 show at Kitimat’s Zoo Kitimat is likely to be the biggest blast of the whole tour.
Also out this week:
Amon Amarth | Metal Blade
Can there ever be too much Viking metal? Not if you are this Stockholm group, which is up to its 11th release of melodic, pounding riffage propelling along tales of Mjölner, Hammer of Thor, Valkyria and The Berserker at Stamford Bridge. Diehard fans can argue the relative merits of this album compared to Twilight of the Thunder God or Fate of Norns. The rest can be smart and see them Sept. 28 at the PNE forum on a fantastic bill with Arch Enemy, At the Gates and Grand Magus.
Land Line EP
This Vancouver post punk trio gets right down to business with the opening tune 9:17, a moody observation on the current political climate complete with breathy choruses that sound like finals gasps. Lead singer Aubrey Pedersen has excellent delivery, packing a kind of dismissive leer and earnestness into word at the same time. By the time 52 Elephants closes this fine record, topics as diverse as collective desires, sex work and the opioid crises have been rocked over. The release show is on May 10 at the Waldorf.
Rodrigo y Gabriela | ATO Records
Dude, they do a nearly 19 minute-long version of Pink Floyd’s Echoes. It’s like the best duel guitar busking tune ever. Or one of the most egregious errors of this two acoustic guitar heroes’ career. The rest of the tracks are the expected displays of lightning picking, violent strumming and flamenco fire. Terracentric deserves mention for its seventies blues rock boogie. Catch them beating up their instruments on July 14 at the Vogue Theatre.
Japanese City Pop, AOR and Boogie (1976 — 1986)
Various Artists: Pacific Breeze | Light In The Attic
Continuing its mining of the massive historical archive of Japanese pop music genres, Light In The Attic offers up 16 tracks of songs that are characterized by their slickness, chirping female vocals and rhythmic sensibility that is akin to the Three’s Company theme. Songs such as Nanako Sato’s Subterranean Futari Bocci are all but guaranteed to get a room of people yelling “keytar solo” at the same time. Kitschy-but-cool.