Posts Tagged ‘Indigenous’
March 24, 2011 9 pm Eastern
Call-In Number (646) 595-3155
Jacob Pratt has also been playing the Traditional Native Flute since he was fourteen years old. He has been self taught and through years of practice has developed his own unique style of music. April 16, 2011 is the official release of his first CD entitled “Eagle Calls.” Jacob chose to make a CD simply because there was huge demand from family and friends requesting a CD of his music. In Jacob’s live performances his flute music is accompanied by both traditional and personal stories that are related to the flute. He has the ability to cater his stories and music to entertain many different age groups.
Jacob has been a mens traditional dancer since he was a very young child. This style tells the story of a warrior who is hunting or in a battle. He has expanded his dancing to include the hoop dance. Jacob uses sixteen hoops to tell a story and depict many different things. With the hoops some of the images that are created include, the ladder of life, horse, bear, eagle, and the earth just to name a few.
Lastly Jacob is considered to be a great role model to First Nations youth all across Canada. He chooses to live a healthy drug and alcohol free life style, attends university, and strives to lead by example for young people. Due to his positive life style Jacob is routinely requested to speak at youth and cultural events. Some of the topics that Jacob likes to speak about include, motivational, education, healthy life styles, culture, language revitalization, Striving for success, and many others.
March 10, 2011 9 pm Eastern
Call-In Number (646) 595-3155
Such a simple statement. So bold and direct yet hard for most “artists” to accomplish. Contrived ruses have given many music sensations their 15 minutes. That same ploy has taken it away just as quickly. Those who rely on talent and passion; their ability and drive however, don’t need a gimmick.
Those two words—no gimmicks—perfectly encapsulate Joey Stylez, the world’s premiere Native American hip hop artist. From his chameleon-esque sound, clothing and hair styles down to his ongoing adoration for skin art and undeniable good looks, Moosmin First Nations member Stylez is overtaking the world of hip hop with enthusiastic ease.
And no damned gimmicks.
Originally hailing from Saskatchewan, this internationally-acclaimed rhymer has proven that even in the Great White North, it’s possible to overcome oppression. A victim of poverty in his youth despite being relocated to Saskatoon by a hardworking single mother, Stylez (aka Joseph Laplante) was raised low-income in a middle-class neighbourhood. The constant struggling and derision from outsiders determined—or rather forced—his take-no-prisoners attack.
“I took to my own means of getting what I wanted,” declares Stylez about his approach to both life and music. “If I had to shoplift or sell something I…whatever…I’d do it by all means necessary. That mindset carried over in a positive way though, and influenced making music for me. If it takes guts, money, sugar or spice, I don’t care. It’s going to happen. I’m going to get it. I have tunnel vision; my mind set on the prize.”
Stylez’s debut full-length effort The Blackstar (Fontana North/Universal) is that reward. A beastly wallop of pointed intensity, it boasts graceful flow, a sinewy commingling of diverse genres and dynamic prowess intertwined with unforgettable lyrics, evidenced on already-revered tracks such as “Kool Runnin,” “Sugar Cane,” “Mr. Milkman” and more.
Furthermore, the results of this relentless mindset are indisputable. Presently, Stylez is nominated for five Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards (having won in 2009 for Best Music Video with the track “Sugar Cane”), while he is also on the list of potential winners for Best Male Artist at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards held in Hamilton this November. The list of accomplishments and accolades is endless yet entirely deserved.
Striving beyond rudimentary classification though, Stylez explains how The Blackstar expands past the world of hip hop; is exponentially more vast and embracing than such an austere definition allows for.
“I prefer to define myself as new age music because of my fashion, music, style and background/ancestry. All of those culminate into one unique thing. Once you’re pigeonholed as something, that’s what you are and you can’t ever branch out so I like to be classified simply as an artist. I like Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra and so much more. All of those are influences on my music.”
Still, Stylez notes that a wide array of musical varieties aren’t the only contributing factors to ensuring The Blackstar’s uniqueness. Initially utilizing his music as a means of cathartic release, the stronger his art becomes, the more positive his overall outlook has grown. In essence, The Blackstar is the culmination of exorcising demons coupled with creative and personal expansion. Every one of Stylez’s songs is influenced by, relates to and describes his everyday life.
“I’ve been working on this album for about a decade overall, even though the songs are all new,” he notes, revealing the impact life has had on The Blackstar. “I rap about what I’ve been through. It’s not art that imitates someone else’s life. When I first started, my songs were dark because I was going through a hard part of life, but now life’s been good to me. Songs are happier now, much more abstract and largely influenced by my travelling.” Stylez transition is evident through his countless music video’s on YouTube. From his initial self made street video’s, to his now polished and popular video’s such as “Sugar Cane” and “Kool Runnin”, he has developed a strong following, capturing over 7 million total views. One of the most impressive and vital aspects of The Blackstar though, is its true inspiration, Stylez’ traditional Plains Cree Grandmother. Stylez asserts that she made him what he is today and the album is named in her honour, an impressive, respectable feat for any young role model to declare.
“She’s the last of her kind right now; practising all of the traditional ceremonies, she’s still pure having never drank, done drugs or smoked. She’s had such a powerful impact on me and my music. She’s a pillar of strength for myself and our community as a whole. My faith comes from her. I’ve never had any doubt and it’s thanks to her,” he asserts.
Propelling The Blackstar’s unending momentum, Stylez performed as a part of supportive event Truth And Reconciliation with fellow Canadian stars Blue Rode and Buffy Sainte-Marie in support of residential school survivors as a part of his 50-plus performances on the Paint The Country Red tour this past year. At that, bringing his show to reserves across the nation in conjunction with a youth motivational workshop, Stylez truly is bringing mainstream attention to native people and an inimitable album to the globe. While duly proud of such a compelling, diverse album and its imposing embrace by fans around the world, Stylez notes that something else is far more crucial with The Blackstar. Yes, it is creative, passionate and original. However, Stylez is adamant that people recognize its truest power: obliterating misconceptions and opening doors for his heritage; destroying that same oppression and discrimination that once threatened to hold him back from destiny.
“No one’s seen this side of Native Americans yet. It’s time to break the barriers and stereotypes. We own businesses, we’re actors and musicians. We’re role models now. Everyone’s seen black artists, white artists and Mexican artists but not a Native American artist before. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’m an ambassador for my people. All eyes are on me.”