Poet rapper hears Canadian music

The rest of the world, Roland Pemberton says, is slowly learning we’re more than just oil, 4x4s and hockey.

The rest of the world, Roland Pemberton says, is slowly learning we’re more than just oil, 4x4s and hockey.

“People are still getting over the shock that there are black people and rap in Canada too,” said Edmonton’s poet laureate, also known as Cadence Weapon.

In a few days, fireworks will light up skies above Canadian cities, in celebration of our country’s 142nd birthday. For Pemberton, whose lyrics are one of the Great White North’s hottest exports, the reasons to celebrate are music to his ears.

“This is, traditionally, not an artistic place to grow up. It’s indoctrined to go work on the rigs — there’s sort of a bias toward that industry here,” he said. “There’s a brain drain for Edmonton artists who want to leave because there’s no opportunity and respect here. The fact that I’m in the position I am is representative of the fact that artists can make it here.”

Pemberton’s two-year term as poet laureate officially begins on Canada Day.

Comparing the country’s art scene and culture to the rest of the world, he says Canadian unity is the tie that binds the country and stamps it unique among other nations.

In his rhymes about the beauty of Edmonton’s river valley and issues facing youth in the 780, he feels the creative landscape of our country has evolved to a destination point for international travellers.

“People used to think Canada meant Barenaked Ladies,” he said. “We’re making music now in a really creative period — I feel like we’re in the ’70s all over again.”

 
 
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