Story by Jamie Campbell
On Thursday, Feb. 21, at Festival Hall, an intimate performance space tucked away in trendy Inglewood, two Canadian rising hip-hop groups will take the stage to kick off Block Heater. Block Heater is The Calgary Folk Music Festival’s winter festival aimed at reheating the local music and culture scene during Calgary’s winter months. Getting the crowd warmed up is Cartel Madras, two sisters from Madras, India who are not only carrying the hip hop torch, they’re using it to burn down stereotypes and set imaginations ablaze. Coining the term “Goonda rap,” their songs fuse together trap, rap and house. Following their performance, which is sure to get show goers attention, is Vancouver-based group, Snotty Nose Rez Kids.
After chatting with SNRK members Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce, the expectations of the show are guaranteed to bring the type of energy everyone is anticipating.
“Hell yeah. We are so excited to perform with Cartel Madras. We’ve been in two festivals with them, and every time we get on stage it’s always such great energy,” says Yung Trybez. Rumor has it, fans may also be #blessed with an on-stage performance giving fans a taste of their new collaboration on SNRK upcoming album.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to see SNRK perform, don’t miss it. The group brings heavy hitting beats with thoughtfully laid out lyrics – which is why they made the Polaris Music Prize shortlist last year for their album The Average Savage. The group not only brings the high energy you expect from a hip-hop show, they deliver a strong message.
Hailing from Kitimat, B.C., the group came from an isolated Indigenous community where Canadian hip hop didn’t penetrate in, and they had to get their musical fix from mainstream hits.
“Growing up we had nobody to look up to in the hip hop community. We were never exposed to artists that were in Vancouver, Winnipeg or other parts of Canada – we only heard mainstream artists. Having our messages and our voices heard is why we started doing this – to give our youth something to look up too, because we never had that growing up,” says Metz and Nyce.
Lyrics like “Home of the braves and the ancestors who walked the land you’ve damaged” on their hit track “Savages” highlights their strong lyricism, which Nyce says “touches on protecting the environment and our own Indigenous identity.”
For those wanting more after the show (and trust us, you will) the group is releasing a new album in the coming months, alongside new videos and launching a nation-wide tour.
Tickets to the upcoming Block Heater show are available through: www.calgaryfolkfest.com/blockheater with a full festival schedule.