“I think I’m the only guy that does the stuff I do,” Cadence Weapon tells people attempting to label his unique sound, which blends electro synths and 8-bit sound effects with an abstract rap style.
In 2005, his critically acclaimed debut, Breaking Kayfabe, had people touting Edmonton as the new hotbed of hip hop, but he was quick to distance himself from the hype.
“I don’t necessarily want to claim (being a hip-hop ambassador),” he told Metro recently.
Cadence Weapon — born Roland Pemberton — said his self-produced tracks are a mash-up of all that was around him as a child: From the sounds of the rap music his father, a Brooklyn ex-pat, introduced to Edmonton in the ’80s, to the rock and house scenes that dominated the ’90s. The result is a refreshing quasi-electronic sound.
Since Kayfabe dropped, Cadence has experienced many positive changes, including extensive touring of North America and Europe, a nomination for the Polaris Music Prize, and new alliances with labels Don Dada and Epitaph, which are helping his music reach fresh ears.
On his second album, Afterparty Babies, Cadence did not stray far from his hometown for fodder.
“Observing the scene from outside, hanging out with friends, watching stories unfold as people changed. I felt like I had to start telling these stories. I wanted to make a youth culture time capsule about the ‘hipster’ scene right now. It’s purposefully dated,” he said.
Upbeat, simple, and fun throughout, Afterparty Babies focuses solely on the theme of the party.
Other artists have realized his music’s potential. Cadence’s tunes have been spun by the biggest of electro DJ’s and many big name producers are now employing his vocals to spice up their tunes.
But, true to form, he doesn’t want anyone thinking he’ll stay true to any one genre. “I think in the near future I want to write a screenplay … and buy a new hat.”