TORONTO — Cadence Weapon has gained the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album “Parallel World.”
The Edmonton-raised rapper’s full-length file — which fuses hip-hop, digital and dirt music into a mirrored image on social injustice — was chosen by an 11-member grand jury as the perfect Canadian album of the yr, primarily based on its inventive advantage.
The popularity comes with a $50,000 prize and heightened consciousness for the artist who’s been a part of Canada’s music business for properly over a decade however continues to be extensively thought of underground.
“I am unable to consider that is occurring, I really feel wonderful,” he stated by webcam on Monday as he accepted the honour from his house.
The 35-year-old musician’s win comes after two of his earlier albums had been Polaris shortlisted, 2006’s “Breaking Kayfabe” and 2012’s “Hope in Dust Metropolis,” however did not take house the prize.
“Parallel World,” his fifth album, was already a darling of music critics who applauded how its 10 songs that play out over a brisk 26-minutes left an enduring influence. Some credited the file with capturing a uniquely Toronto perspective on the Black expertise in Canada that grapples with gentrification, expertise and historical past.
“I undoubtedly made music with a journalistic lens,” he stated, acknowledging a lot of the album’s inspiration got here from watching the George Floyd protests final yr.
Cadence Weapon, born Rollie Pemberton, moved to Toronto in 2015 after spending a lot of his childhood in Montreal. However earlier than that, he was already on the radar of Canada’s arts scene, named Edmonton’s poet laureate for 2 years in 2009.
His familial ties to Edmonton run deep. His late father, Teddy, was a hip-hop DJ on campus radio whereas his grandfather, Rollie Miles, was a participant with the CFL’s Eskimos for 11 years.
Whereas accepting the Polaris award, Pemberton laid out early plans for utilizing a few of his “assets” to prepare voter registration occasions across the Toronto municipal and Ontario provincial elections.
“We’d like some adjustments to our management and we have to make issues extra equitable for individuals within the metropolis to have the ability to vote,” he stated, calling on different musicians to hitch him in his quest.
In a information convention after the award announcement, he instructed reporters that he additionally plans to make use of a portion of the prize cash to assist some Toronto crowdfunding campaigns cross their objective, together with one for the Little Jamaica group, which is being impacted by a light-rail transit line that may quickly be passing by the realm.
Pemberton additionally mirrored on the political panorama of the nation per week after polls closed for the snap federal election.
“I additionally simply need to take this time to say that Justin Trudeau has worn blackface so many occasions he cannot even keep in mind what number of occasions, and he was simply given a 3rd time period,” he stated in his Polaris acceptance speech.
“And that is precisely why I should be making rap data which are political, which are about these topics as a result of that is nonetheless a truth in the present day.”
The Polaris Music Prize awards the artist or group that created the standout Canadian album of the earlier yr — no matter style or gross sales — as chosen by a workforce of journalists, broadcasters and bloggers.
It’s thought of one of many nation’s most prestigious music awards. Former winners embody Backxwash, Haviah Mighty, Jeremy Dutcher and Kaytranada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 27, 2021.
David Buddy, The Canadian Press