Cadence Weapon wins the 2021 Polaris Music Prize

Cadence Weapon has received the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World.

The file by the Edmonton-born rapper (actual identify Rollie Pemberton) was chosen by an 11-member jury because the Canadian album of the yr, primarily based solely on creative benefit. The announcement was made on Sept. 27 throughout an online celebration hosted by CBC Music’s Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe.

Across its 10 songs and 26 minutes, Parallel World makes distinct references to Black experiences and historical past in Canada and attracts inspiration from a variety of music, literature and artwork by Black creators to mirror our “dystopian present.”

“It is dark,” Pemberton advised CBC Music, describing the album. “Have you looked outside lately?” He additionally defined how Parallel World resulted from a pandemic-induced interval of self-reflection:

“During the pandemic, everyone in my life who is not Black [said], ‘I’m noticing this stuff for the first time.’ [But] I’ve been living with this shit forever. It felt like I used to be a conspiracy theorist. I [would say], ‘I swear that was a microaggression.’ Nobody believed me. And then, finally, everyone is seeing what I’m seeing. That made me emboldened to just go harder on this album.”

This is Cadence Weapon’s first Polaris Music Prize win. He had beforehand been shortlisted for Breaking Kayfabe (2006) and Hope in Dirt City (2012). There has by no means been a two-time winner of the prize, which has been awarded yearly since 2006.

In addition to $50,000, the Polaris Music Prize brings worldwide recognition to the winner’s album.

While accepting the prize, Pemberton gave a shout out to his communities in Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton. He additionally talked about his upcoming plans, which embrace some political engagement. “Next year, I’ll be using some of my resources to organize some voter-registration events around the Toronto municipal election as well as the Ontario provincial election because we need some changes to our leadership and we need to make things more equitable for people in this city to be able to vote,” he mentioned.

View his full speech under:

Cadence Weapon’s Parallel World beat out 9 other 2021 shortlist contenders, together with Klô Pelgag’s Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs, the one francophone album on the brief record; Anishinaabe musician Zoon’s self-produced debut album, Bleached Wavves, and When Smoke Rises, people musician Mustafa’s tribute to life (and dying) in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood.

Rounding out the shortlist nominees have been folk-pop musician the Weather Station; author, scholar, activist and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; Toronto rapper DijahSB, Montreal singer-songwriter Dominique Fils-Aimé, punk trio the OBGMs and rapper/R&B vocalist Tobi.

The 9 runners-up from the brief record every obtain $3,000.

Last yr, Montreal rapper Backxwash received the Polaris Music Prize for God has Nothing to do With This Leave Him out of It, changing into the primary transgender musician to obtain this distinction. She made an look at this yr’s on-line award ceremony, performing two songs and saying Cadence Weapon as this yr’s winner.

Other previous Polaris Music Prize winners embrace Jeremy Dutcher, Tanya Tagaq, Kaytranada, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Arcade Fire.

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