Indigenous hip-hop artists in Winnipeg recently gathered to create a coalition against the negative stereotyping of Indigenous rappers. The process will be a part of a new documentary series, 8th Fire, that will air on CBC Television.
Hiphop has faced some negative stereoptyping over the years. From being a fun, dance oriented art form to the corporate labeling of "Gangster Rap", it's hard to hear the term "hip-hop" and not think of the image that is portrayed in mainstream media. The same goes for the Indigenous contingent of hip-hop in North America.
Banding together in the centre of Turtle Island, a group of Indigenous hip-hop artists are aiming to battle the negative stereotyping of the beloved artform. Led by Winnipeg's Most – quite possibly the most popular Indigenous hip-hop act at the moment – members of Winnipeg's Indigenous hiphop scene met on September 8th, 2011 to talk about the future of Indigenous rap and hip-hop. Specifically, they gathered to discuss the steps they can take to keep themselves unbounded by negative stereotypes and classifications.
This process of coalition building will also be documented by CBC's 8th Fire — a four part TV series set to air on CBC Doc Zone beginning in January 2012 — bringing us into this unique creation of a partnership between artists aspiring to keep the art form pure.
Creating music in a climate of heavy commercialization and over promotion of negative lifestyles, this initiative proves to be a great opportunity for Indigenous hip-hop to resurge and reframe itself for the future, ensuring that it can be sustainable and healthy for all who create and enjoy this particular genre of music.