Manik fosters the Native Hip-Hop Movement [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – With the first annual Native Hip-Hop festival rapidly approaching on August 30, we sat down with the event’s organizer and long-time artist and community activist Manik to discuss its significance, its line-up and how it bridges Aboriginal culture old and new.
“We are that generation who has to explain what the internet is to people so old they seen the first generations of white folks arrive in the most secluded parts of B.C…”
HipHopCanada: What is the personal significance to you of having a Native hip-hop festival? What does it mean to the larger community?
Manik: I have spent over a decade creating a database and uniting various Native hip-hop artists . The initial move was a site I created many moons ago called REDHIPHOP.com This was the first site created which celebrated Native hip-hop as its own sub-genre. I was fortunate enough to have made amazing contacts and see the growth of all thse amazing artists. The real significance is to show the growth and let the world know we are ready to emerge beyond the racial confines of Native hip-hop; its a double edged sword…as much as we are celebrating and providing much needed role models, there are a lotta kids who may be scared to check out the music assuming its all gonna be whitebashing lyrics about rez life. Remember we are as diverse of peoples as any other humans…Native hip-hop is a red microcosm of the larger hip-hop scene – aka there’s pretty boy rappers, gangsters, political, and even…really wack rappers. lol.
HipHopCanada: Which artists are you the most excited to see perform and why?
Manik: I am most excited to see the Stressed Street comrade Skye Stoney perform cause he has been locked up for four years and has been watching his friends blow up. His energy is crazy right now and his music is nutty. I am always hyped to see Lightningcloud from L.A. – they recently won the Power 106 competition which gave em a beat by Doc Dre…they won cause they have talent and hustle. DREZUS just won best hip-hop album at the last APCMA [Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards] and he’s a longtime brother, he is a serious talent. I am also amped to see Savage Family from Spokane, these cats are ill. Also EEkwol from Regina is a multi award-winning act…its real talent all over almost every event!
HipHopCanada: Who do you anticipate your audience to be at this festival?
Manik: The audience will vary depending on the event. The opening event will pull out a lot of the kids from the local rez’s around Vancouver (Musqueum , TWN and Capilano) as well as kids who wanna go to a all ages jam. That evening the all-female lineup will bring lot of the activist community out…the next night will be everyone who’s anyone! And the final event which will be a block party will also bring out everyone who is everyone! I anticipate seeing every human on earth there – why wouldnt they go!?!
HipHopCanada: What parts of your Aboriginal heritage do you feel most connected to, and how can you bridge history with modern day?
Manik: I am the bridge of past and present…we are that generation who has to explain what the internet is to people so old they seen the first generations fo white folks arrive in the most secluded parts of B.C. I have been perfomring over drumbeats since birth. Hundreds of years down the road they will pick up Manik – Murder Of Ravens and refer to it as traditional Native music. Everything I do is authentically and genuinely Native. Every view I have and move I make is from the Native perspective….the best answer is to be respectful no matter what.
HipHopCanada: What is the most important message that you hope people take from your music?
Manik: That it is ok to say what you feel. I may not always be politically correct and the best of influences in my lyrics but I dont hold in potentially harmful thoughts and feelings. Aboriginal peoples have experienced an evil, attempted extermination of our culture. It was a fail on the parts of the Canadian government and the various churches it partnered with. The mission was to eliminate our voice…IT DIDN’T WORK AND NOW THEY WILL SUFFER THE WRATH! AND WE ARE BACKED BY THE GREATER WORLD COMMUNITY…EVERY HIP-HOP FAN I EVER ENCOUNTERED AGREES! It’s a beautiful time.
HipHopCanada: Any other comments for the HipHopCanada readership?
Manik: I invite all of ya’ll to come and check out the talent and events. I guarantee you will find at least a couple acts that cater to your flavour…there will be a lot of dope clothing availbale. Enough with the corporate fuckery which misuses our designs and images – and yes i am talking about your favorite clothing label – come get the actual Native hip-hop swag! This is a great chance to see some of Canada’s best…your bad if you miss out!