This is a new genre for me, Native American Hip Hop.
Although it makes perfect sense really when you consider that Hip Hop and Rap was born out of the African American experience. The Native Americans have experienced just as much if not more misery and injustice from a system they had no interest in being part of in the first place.
This album evolved from the mind of Sto:lo/Tahltan Rapper Hope. Through his music he creates an incredible narrative of an indigenous man living in the world of the colonizer. He faces head on the troubles and the losses facing indigenous people in Canada. Addressing the Canadian 60s Scoop and the AIM Program, both taking indigenous children away from their families to be raised by middle-class white families. His own mother was a child taken from her home.
His lyrics tell his own story as well as the stories of his friends and family. Alcoholism, depression, anger, desperation and a continuous search for their own place in their own land. His lyrics are haunting, powerful, descriptive and real. There’s so much pain in every line, but there is also humor and love and a kind of tenderness. The production is also excellent. There’s a real warmth that runs through the album, in amongst the rage and the rhyme.
Hope’s storytelling may sound modern but it comes from the deepest part of his people’s experience. The importance of passing on feelings and connections to each other doesn’t fade over time, it grows stronger. There is just as much need to be reminded of racism and marginalization of minorities today as there has ever been and artists like Hope are vital in that need. Musically he reminds me of the very best of early Kanye, with beautiful melodies and gorgeous vocals by him and some really excellent female vocals with soulful and luscious sounds.
In short, I surprised myself and absolutely loved this album. Give “Hope” a chance…
Patrick Kelly: Vocals
Label: Independent (Rudegang Entertainment)
Producer: Onata, Mayo Beats