Cadence Weapon wins 2021 Polaris Music Prize



Cadence Weapon won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for their album Parallel world.

The Edmonton-born rapper (real name Rollie Pemberton) was selected by an 11-member jury as Canadian Album of the Year, based solely on artistic merit. The announcement was made on September 27 during a online celebration hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe of CBC Music.

Through its 10 songs and its 26 minutes, Parallel world makes distinct references to Black experiences and history in Canada and draws on a wide range of black music, literature and creative art to reflect our “dystopian present.”

“It’s dark,” Pemberton told CBC Music, describing the album. “Have you been looking outside lately?” He also explained how Parallel world results from a period of self-reflection induced by the pandemic:

“During the pandemic, everyone in my life who is not black [said], ‘I’m noticing this for the first time.’ [But] I’ve been living with this shit forever. I felt like a conspiracy theorist. I [would say], ‘I swear it was a micro-assault.’ No one believed me. And then, finally, everyone sees what I see. It gave me the courage to go further on this album. “

This is Cadence Weapon’s first Polaris Music Prize. He had already been shortlisted for Breaking Kayfabe (2006) and Hope in the city of dirt (2012). There has never been a double winner of the award, which has been awarded annually since 2006.

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

In accepting the award, Pemberton thanked his communities in Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton. He also spoke about his upcoming projects, which include political engagement. “Next year I will be using some of my resources to organize voter registration events around the Toronto municipal elections as well as the Ontario provincial elections as we need changes in our leadership and we need to. make things fairer for people. in this city to be able to vote, ”he said.

See his full speech below:

Cadence weapon Parallel world beat nine other contenders for the 2021 preselection, including that of Klô Pelgag Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, the only French-language album on the short list; Anishinaabe musician Zoon’s self-produced debut album, Bleached waves, and When the smoke rises, folk musician Mustafa’s tribute to life (and death) in Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood.

The nominees were completed by folk-pop musician The Weather Station; writer, scholar, activist and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; Toronto rapper DijahSB, Montreal singer-songwriter Dominique Fils-Aimé, punk trio les OBGMs and R&B singer / songwriter Tobi.

The nine shortlisted finalists each receive $ 3,000.

Last year, Montreal rapper Backxwash won the Polaris Music Prize for God got nothing to do with it, leave it out of it, becoming the first transgender musician to receive this honor. She made an appearance at this year’s online awards ceremony, performing two songs and announcing Cadence Weapon as this year’s winner.

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


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