YAMANTAKA Facebook Friday night at Pop Montreal saw quite a few big acts…
Cadence Weapon on Drake: 'You Can't Front' -- Rapper Approves of Fellow Polaris Nominee's 'Take Care' Album
- Posted on Jul 19th 2012 12:00PM by Anupa Mistry
"I made my bed for myself, you know? I can't be surprised," he tells Spinner, noting that rappers are already at a disadvantage within the general music landscape. "I make music that is inherently divisive."
His newest record, the newly Polaris Prize short-listed Hope in Dirt City, feels like a response to those detractors. It's Cadence at his most lyrically accessible and relaxed. Production credits are split between himself and some of Canada's fast-rising weirdos, like Doldrums and the LOL Boys. Considering the breadth of references, there's a nice cohesion between early '90s sample-heavy rap aesthetics and organic-sounding arrangements. And it was all intentional, he says, in an effort to be more accessible but without losing himself.
"With this record I feel like there's not a lot to complain about if you've felt like I've been a little too out there in the past."
Spinner talked with Cadence about all of these things, as well as how it feels to be a Canadian rapper in a world where Drake is king ahead of his show opening for Liars in Toronto.
I've gotta ask, is it harder or easier being a Canadian rapper post-Drake?
(Laughs) It's 2012 A.D. – After Drake. Yeah, I don't know if that totally relates to me because I was just doing my own thing already. I don't think there was a spike in Cadence Weapon listenership. But now there are more people watching. This album is interesting because I've noticed more Americans watching on YouTube and more people tweeting at me. They aren't totally weirded out by a Canadian rapper now.
Yeah, I ask everyone that, but I was curious because I came across this VIBE interview which had you pegged as the "next new Canadian rapper" or something...
It's the first time I've gotten any attention from mainstream hip-hop media in America and it can't be a total coincidence. Or maybe it's because my music is more in line with music now than anything I've put out before. I used to be more sensitive about those questions, the Drake thing, because I was younger and more impetuous, but I feel like what he's doing is more... like, people don't give him enough credit. It's totally a new thing.
Take Care is beautiful.
It's a great album, and everyone's reflex is to not want to like it. But you can't front.
I feel like you're one step ahead in some ways because you're collaborating with people making lots of noise outside the country -- like Grimes and Sinjin Hawke and LOL Boys. Like, Drake recycled a hot Jamie XX beat but, ohmygod, what if he worked with Lunice?
Yeah! I've been very entrenched in the underground music scene across Canada, just from DJing and meeting people doing experimental things to, like, the club scene living in Montreal now. This is the moment when it's about to really explode. And I think it would be lame if I didn't take advantage of all the cool music happening in Canada right now. For so long I felt totally alone and it's only now that it seems like there are people on the outskirts who have different ideas and it's very special. We're at a good time for Canadian musicians. It's like a renaissance. It feels like the '70s or something.
And it's nice to see the potential for it to be across genres.
This is what I'm saying! It doesn't exist. Genre is there to keep people in a box. Other interviewers have been, like, "You have a dub reggae song," or "You're screaming" and it's all very confusing. But it's like, no, it's just pop music to me. Unless you're fucking Mozart or something, it's just pop music. I don't see the need to not do something just because I'm a rapper.
I want to be really dismissive now when people say it's hard to make it in Canada, because, well, internet!
That argument is only made by people who aren't willing to do the work, I find. Cream rises to the top pretty much every time. Beyonce is Beyonce for a reason. Like I was talking about people that didn't "make it" earlier? There are usually reasons why: Ras Kass got a DUI. Right now it's wide open. It's up to people to do the work.
Is that also part of why you moved from Edmonton to Montreal?
I just wanted a change of scenery. And in a short period of time I've really entrenched myself in the music scene there. Like with the Arbutus Records crew, it feels like we've become a family. I met Marcus from LOL Boys DJing a party at Torn Curtain. I knew Doldrums from Toronto and (former band) Spiral Beach, but then he came to Montreal around the same time and we ended up in the same circles and it was inevitable we'd make music together.
So is it easier than it was in Edmonton?
I don't want to say that because I had success coming out of Edmonton.
You're right. You made "Cadence Weapon, from Edmonton..."
Yeah, my whole thing is artists can come out of Edmonton and make it and I'm living proof of that. But for the kind of music I make there's more of an infrastructure in Montreal -- more people who understand what I'm trying to do. And isn't that what people want in the world? Understanding? (Laughs)