Cadence Weapon talks CFL and new album, Roquentin [Interview]
Edmonton, AB – Cadence Weapon is a young poet, DJ and rapper out of Edmonton. He comes from a long line of overachievers – his grandfather was a football star while his father was a well-known DJ – and it seems his destiny to carry on the family name. HipHopCanada got on the phone with Edmonton’s poet laureate to discuss his current works, both in the studio and on the stage.
HipHopCanada: You’re performing at the CFL Players Association parties this year, which is interesting because you have some strong ties to the CFL.
Cadence Weapon: Football has been an important part of my entire life, my family is definitely a football family. My grandfather is Rollie Miles, who is a fall of fame player, won three Grey Cups, and I’m named after him. It’s definitely really exciting playing a CFL show, especially because the Grey Cup’s in Edmonton and it gives me the perfect opportunity to showcase how I have continued that legacy in a different way. It seems like it was expected that I would do something interesting eith the name, and I think I have.
HipHopCanada: Excited to share the stage with Mix Master Mike?
Cadence Weapon: I’m really excited to see him play, he’s a legend. Even outside of Beastie Boys – which I’m a big fan of, Paul’s Boutique is one of my favorite albums – he’s definitely a legend. They asked me to DJ at the event as well, and I have a little trepidation about doing that right before Mix Master Mike.
HipHopCanada: How has Edmonton treated you as an artist?
Cadence Weapon: Edmonton has a great rap community. I’ve always considered myself more connected with the electronic music community, and the more indie rock community in town. But I feel like I’ve been supported very well, definitely in the media, and I’ve tried to be as involved with other rappers. I’m putting out a mixtape in the next couple of days, and I’ve got a lot of rappers from Edmonton on there that people might not really know about yet, like this rapper Kaz Mega, a few people from this label Old Ugly that’s doing a lot of interesting things in Edmonton. But it isn’t exactly on the map, I’m trying to put in on the map. There’s definitely a distinct sound to Edmonton rap. It seems like there’s a colder core to what we’re doing, it’s probably connected to the weather or something. Seems like colder places make colder music.
HipHopCanada: You’re the city’s poet laureate… what does that entail?
Cadence Weapon: I am the chronicler of events in Edmonton. I write a minimum of three poems per year pertaining to Edmonton events or historical elements. I have to do three performances at different city events. It’s pretty open ended. I can do more than what’s expected at me, which I have. For instance, I’m a part of this flag initiative where we’re putting flags up downtown on Jasper Avenue where each flag has a word from a poem that I’ve written specifically for use in this project. Basically it’s about the city: the big city versus the small city.
HipHopCanada: Where can we find your poems?
Cadence Weapon: My poems are up on the Edmonton Public Library website, www.epl.ca/poet. You can definitely find a few samples of my work there.
HipHopCanada: You have a mixtape coming out soon, can you tell us about it?
Cadence Weapon: It’ll be available on Cadenceweaponusic.com. I’ll probably announce it on Twitter when it’s ready, @Roland_Weapon. The mixtape should be out any day now, we’re just completing the dowload page for it and trying to make sure it’s done really well, I’m really excited to put it out. It’s called Tron Legacy. The idea is I wanted to do a parody of a lot of typical rap mixtapes, cause I notice a lot that there’ll be weird movie tie-ins, like TI had the Inception Mixtape where he photoshopped himself into the cover. Gucci Mane has all these Gucci Light Year where it’s a Toy Story thing, and I thought that was really absurd and funny so I decided to do one for Tron. It doesn’t have any content to do with Tron.
HipHopCanada: You went to journalism school …so what question would you ask yourself if you were the journalist doing this interview?
Cadence Weapon: Maybe how I decided on the specific influences that form what I make. I feel like I make kind of weird music, a lot of electronic influences. To answer to my own question, a lot of it has to do with living with my own family. My father was a DJ for 20 years in Edmonton, I was living around records all the time and instead of collecting bottle caps or pet rocks I collected records my whole life. Rather than sampling records I became more interested in making music that was comparable to records. I want people to sample me. The new album that I’m working on, Roquentin is a full band but psychedelic rock with rapping on it. Roquentin is the name of the main character from the book Nausea, by Jean-Paul Sartre.
HipHopCanada: Will you be touring anytime soon? More specifically, coming to Vancouver?
Cadence Weapon: I’m going to Vancouver to New Years to hang out. I have a film project I’m putting together for the album release. I’m filming some films in Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal over the next couple of months that are gonna be tied into my album. People will see them when the album is about to be released.
HipHopCanada: Ok, give us a call when you’re in town!
Cadence Weapon: Right on.
Written by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photography by Dustin Rabin
Tags: Cadence Weapon