A member of the Apsaalooke Nation who makes his home on the Crow Agency reserve in Montana, Supaman released a new video last week for the first single off his upcoming album Digital Grease.
Supaman is quite an interesting artist. His early work fell into describing and subscribing to the struggle and more negative aspects of hip-hop culture. But while signed to a Seattle label and on tour, he had a breakdown and subsequent epiphany that lead him to leave the label and return to the reserve. There he began to write a new message into his work with a focus and dedication to providing his community, and youth in particular, with a positive message.
From NPR, Supaman: Rapping On The Reservation:
"Native Americans grasp that culture of hip-hop because of the struggle," he says. "Hip-hop was talking about the ghetto life, poverty, crime, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy; all that crazy stuff that happens in the ghetto is similar to the reservation life. We can relate to that"...
He says he and his friends took the stories they heard in rap songs and made them real life. "We would play the part, you know. We were wannabees, trying to be, like, these rappers on the rez. So we started doing the crime, robbing, went into houses and trade the merchandise and then get weed from the merchandise, and then started selling."
And then came the record deal and the pressures of life on the road:
"I was just down and out — rock bottom you could say — and I grabbed the Bible," says Supaman. Reading the Bible rekindled memories of going to church as a boy. And despite his own disbelief at first, Supaman found himself in a dialogue with God over the next few days. He says he saw a sign of his presence and fell into prayer... He walked away from a deal with the record label and returned to the reservation to weave a new message into his music...
"When they heard it they were like, 'Man, this is pretty good,' " says Supaman. "And then they would hear the lyrics and be like, 'Oh, you're rappin about Jesus.' Some would hate it: 'Oh man, I don't wanna hear that.' And some would say, 'I'm not into Jesus Christ, but, man, this is good music.' And others would be influenced by it."
Supaman says his conversion has allowed him to look at his life and the reservation with different eyes; to see beyond the bad things and focus on the beauty and humor that are there too.
And now he's back! With a new album, new single, and this slick performance video shot and edited by Ablazah Stump from B.L.A.Z.E. and Stan-X, and filmed in Rocky Boy, Montana.
Watch - Supaman, "Gorilla":