CADENCE WEAPON opening for JAPANDROIDS at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West), Saturday (June 23), 9 pm. $18, adv $15. RT, SS, TM. See listing.
Right in the middle of NXNE madness last week, the long list for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize was announced. And once again Edmonton-raised, Montreal-based rapper Cadence Weapon (aka Rollie Pemberton) appears on it.
The quirky performer's new album, Hope In Dirt City (Upper Class), combines hip-hop traditionalism with everything from new wave to disco and jazz, which may help it transcend any jury genre bias and win Pemberton the grand prize for the first time.
If he does get lucky, his plans for the $30,000 are simple.
"I'd pay off my student loans and start a studio space/multi-purpose arts and performance venue in Montreal," he says.
He imagines a way to decide the best Canadian album of the year that might be a lot more entertaining than the behind-the-scenes debates between music critics that currently help determine the winner.
"Something like The Running Man or Battle Royale: put a novelty cheque in the middle and have everybody battle to the death. My money would be on Pink Eyes [aka Fucked Up vocalist Damian Abraham]."
As much as we'd like to see a bunch of sensitive Canadian musicians wrestling, that's probably not going to happen any time soon.
But if Polaris were to invite Pemberton to vote, what would his top-five list look like? As it turns out, his picks - a handful of weirdo experimental pop-makers from Montreal and the most famous Canadian rapper ever - reflect his eclectic sound.
"I'd vote for Drake's Take Care, Miracle Fortress's Was I The Wave? [editor's note: its release date falls outside the eligibility period], Paula's Relaxed Fit, Sean Nicholas Savage's Flamingo and Mac DeMarco's Rock And Roll Night Club."