What is the host of Evolution of hip hop think of the rise of First Nations rappers Snotty Nose Ground Kids? Shad conducted extensive research and interviews for the award-winning documentary series Peabody to tell the story of artists who “took hip-hop, which was born in New York, and authentically integrated it into their local culture.” And also obviously had something to say. I definitely see Snotty Nose Rez Kids as part of that tradition,” Shad told Complex Canada of fellow Canadian MCs and late collaborators.
Snotty Nose Ground Kids paid an equally enthusiastic tribute to “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home” rapper while describing their collaboration with him on the remix of their song “Red Sky At Night,” which was released today. March 25.
The duo, consisting of Darren “Young” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce, who just wrapped up gigs at SXSW, told Complex Canada in a joint statement that they are “fans of Shad’s music and his love for hip-hop for a minute.” They recall chatting with him and inviting him to hit a track at the Polaris Prize gala in 2019 (Shad was shortlisted for that award four times, a feat that the Rez Kids pulled it off twice.) When their team sent him the track, “he showed us mad love when he heard it, and sent us back a verse a bit late when it came to it. put on the original [song], but that’s what remixes are for! His verse was recorded before we even thought of ours, and he fucking set the bar!
However, Young D and Yung Trybez rose to the occasion, spitting socially conscious rhymes for Toronto producer Taabu’s on-hell remix of an instrumental. Young D rap talks about growing hair not only in the tradition of his tribe, but also for every residential school child “who was taken” and for missing and murdered Native women (by making the two phrases rhyme with a skill to turn the tongue, no less). From there, he dissipates convoys of truckers. Yung Trybez, meanwhile, raps about the mental health crisis gripping reservations across Canada, exuding multitudes in a few skimpy lines. He then chants provocative measures about the survival and resilience of Indigenous peoples.
These measures certainly impressed Shad once he heard the finalized remix. But he expected no less. “I can always hear, in their lyrics, references to their culture, their community and their spirituality. He just feels very grounded in something real. There is a real purpose in their music,” he said. And yet, the duo didn’t stop at achieving such lofty goals according to Shad, who added, “The song feels urgent, but also has a sense of excitement and hype.” The veteran rapper strove for equally triumphant themes on the track, spitting a succinct but hard-hitting line on the Rez Kids and a number of other Indigenous artists, strolling the red carpets to accept recent accolades .
Such levity balances Shad’s news columns about corporate giants like the Westins and Irvings having no rights to the land, let alone the right to pollute it. It’s certainly a pivotal time for being – and collaborating with – socially conscious MCs, a time that Shad says forces us to “rethink some fundamental things like, ‘Who are we? “What is our relationship with the land?” and ‘What can we be proud of as a society?’
These elements make the remix a worthy sequel to the original “Red Sky At Night.” A star of their acclaimed 2021 album life after, this song was spurred on by the hypocrisy Snotty Nose Rez Kids saw at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, as well as the tragedies behind the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry and the Colten Boushie case. At the time, Yung Trybez said “there is no reconciliation without exposing these truths”.
“The juxtaposition of hook and verses inspired me to tap into themes of melody and harmony, as well as synthetic aggression and rhythm.”
As powerful as that early version of the song was, the Rez Kids knew what they wanted for the remix: “to bring something different and make it complete.” This meant changing everything except the lyrics to the old hook “Red Sky At Night”. The duo said, “Concerning the content, I felt like it was in Shad’s way. So when he sent his verse back, we knew we had to write another verse each to really make a statement. The hook was a vibe in its own right on the original, so we decided to reach out to Taabu to see what he could bring to the table for the beat. We really didn’t want anything to sound like the original.
Sonically, Taabu was up to the task. That’s because “The Rez Kids always come with the loudest vocal deliveries; lyrically, technically and artistically. This caliber of musicality is inspiring in itself,” said the Toronto producer (of Haviah Mighty’s famous “Wishy Washy”). He added that the message of this remix held so much weight for him that he immediately knew that “the production had to match the power and impact of the vocal delivery. The juxtaposition of hook and verses inspired me to tap into themes of melody and harmony, as well as synthetic aggression and rhythm.
For the original “Red Sky At Night,” Yung Trybez was inspired by the fact that his father was part of a proud line of aboriginal fishermen. He used to tell his son “red skies at night, sailor’s delight,” which, according to Yung Trybez, “means tomorrow will be a good day. So for me, when I put together the concept for this song, I wanted to say there is hope for tomorrow.
Now, the remix marks a fresh start for the Rez Kids. Or, as they put it: “This will close the last chapter on the music of life after as we head off on the Life After North American Tour.
For more information on these tour dates, click here.