Tuesday, June 16, 2020

CD Odyssey Disc 1377: Snotty Nose Rez Kids

I’m having a strange emotional week. On the plus side, I just started a new job and I’m excited about the opportunity and experiences that await me. However, I also have a gravely ill friend who is dying of cancer. This creates quite a maelstrom of its own, only the emotional kind, rather than the creative kind. When I feel glad, it is tinged with grief, and when I feel sad, I try to remind myself of all the things I’m thankful for.

Anyway, it is a lot to process. For now, let’s get back to one of the good things – music.

Disc 1377 is…. Trapline
Artist: Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Year of Release: 2019

What’s up with the Cover? I’m not sure. Given the album title, and knife in his hand, I’m going to guess he’s skinning something. Whatever he’s doing, one look at that coat tells me he is probably warm. That coat looks mighty cozy.

How I Came To Know It: I heard about this band through my coworker and friend Lora, and I wrote it down and then promptly lost the piece of paper for a while. Yes, I’m old school and still write things on pieces of paper – often little pieces of paper like sticky notes. Once enough of them accumulate sometimes there is some collateral damage. Fortunately, this time it resurfaced. I’m glad it did!

How It Stacks Up: I only have this one Snotty Noze Rez Kids album, so it can’t really stack up. They just released a new EP in April and listening to “Trapline” reminds me I need to check that out soon.

Ratings: 4 stars

“Trapline” is not only one of 2019’s best hip hop records; it’s one of the best records of the year, regardless of genre.

It all starts with the rhymes and raps from the duo that make up the band: Quinton 'Yung Trybez' Nyce and Darren 'Young D' Metz. These guys have a smooth, unique flow that draws you in from the first few bars. It hits hard internally, sometimes dropping emphatically on the beat, and sometimes traipsing across it in a flurry of rhyme. The beats are funky and interesting and mix in a lot of layers of syncopation that fit well with the vocal style.

Despite all these complexities, the beats and raps never trip over each other and the sound is clean throughout. The entire experience is light and lively and will have your head bobbing to the groove.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are clearly students of contemporary music history, hip hop and otherwise, and many songs feature references to other work. They also delve deep into their own Haisla culture, incorporating both their individual experiences of growing up Indigenous and broader cultural notes as well. The combination can be intensely personal, political, spiritual and often a combination of all three.

While Yung Trybez and Young D are great on their own, the record also features a host of other rappers doing guest spots as well. This adds flavour and nuance to the album and keeps it fresh throughout.

I will note that the album is a bit long at 18 tracks (long-time readers will know my “14 tracks maximum” guideline). However, it is a minor quibble this time. Even with that many tracks, many are short spoken word testimonials, holding the whole record to a tight, respectable 56 minutes.

Sometimes I hear a band and I just want them to break big, and that’s exactly what happened to me here. Based on their Youtube traffic alone, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids are already doing just fine, but listening to “Trapline” I feel like they’re poised for even greater things. Here’s hopin’.

Best tracks: Creator Made an Animal, I Can’t Remember My Name, Lost Tribe, Hooligans, Boujee Natives, Yuck-Sue-Yaach

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