Cadence Weapon wins 2021 Polaris Music Prize

As the host of the webcast of the award, CBC Music host Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe said: “Third time’s the charm! “. In his third shortlist appearance, songwriter and rapper Cadence Weapon finally won the Polaris Music Prize with his album Parallel World published last April. The musician’s futuristic and committed rap won the favor of the specialized jury in front of the albums of Klô Pelgag and Dominique Fils-Aimé, among other remarkable releases of the year.

The 35-year-old musician, who launched his career in 2005 with a debut album titled Breaking Kayfabe (then retained in the short list of the very first edition of Polaris), is one of the most unique rappers and composers in the country, putting very electronic rhythms at the service of his agile verb – at a press conference after the award ceremony , he introduced himself as an “underground rapper” influenced by his English grime of Dizzee Rascal.

For Parallel World, the rapper plunged back into classic albums of activist music, There’s a Riot Going On (Sly and The Family Stone), Combat Rock (The Clash) , It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back (Public Enemy) et Winter in America (Gil Scott-Heron) to express his experiences during the pandemic and the mobilization following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

Originally from Winnipeg, now based in Toronto after living in Montreal for a few years, Cadence Weapon (Rollie Pemberton) did not waste his allotted time giving an acceptance speech: “Trudeau does not know how many times he wore the blackface he did so much, and yet, we have just given him a third term. That’s why I do committed rap! », He swung, accepting his prize, to which is attached a sum of $ 50,000.

Thanks to Parallel World, Cadence Weapon succeeds rapper Backxwash and her album God Has Nothing to Do with This Leave Him Out of It ; the Montreal musician, who also collaborates on Pemberton’s victorious album (as a duet on the song Ghost), had previously offered two short and intense performances during the special broadcast on the web.

Cadence Weapon’s victory consolidates rap as a creative force in the Canadian musical landscape, after the victories of Backxwash and Torontonian Haviah Mighty in 2019. Three other rap or r & b albums were also selected this year, those of DijahSB (Head Above the Waters), de TOBi (ELEMENTS Vol.1) and the poet and singer Mustafa (When Smoke Rises), the latter being considered one of the favorites in the race.

In addition to recordings by Klô Pelgag and Dominique Fils-Aimé (Three Little Words is his second album to appear in a short list), the list of the ten albums selected for the grand prize gathered The Ends from the punk trio The OBGMs, the graceful Ignorance by folk-rock group The Weather Station and two captivating albums of First Nations musicians, Theory of Ice by author and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Bleach Wavves from the group “moccasin-gauze” – pun with the shoegaze style – Zoon.

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