Mic Jordan's, #DearNativeYouth, is a Passionate Dedication to Uplifting the Community


Mic Jordan's new video, "#DearNativeYouth", speaks to directly to those who need to hear it most—the youngest members of our community.

Equal parts open letter of understanding and story of encouragement, Mic Jordan's new video is simple statement of love and responsibility to the community.

That's what makes it dope.

The up-and-coming Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe hip-hop artist is part of a stellar list of Indigenous musicians and poets contributing to The Last Stand Mixtape, dropping later this fall, and "#DearNativeYouth" is the first glimpse of what we can expect from the mixtape. Encapsulating both the spirit and sentiment of a new generation of Native artists fighting back against all forms of oppression with strength, unity, and conviction, Mic Jordan makes clear that this is bigger than a hashtag movement.

#DearNativeYouth is about affirming the life we share in common, and the dreams that every youth in our community deserves not only to have access to, but to feel confident in achieving.

The Tido Vegas-produced track features a lilting guitar loop paired with Jordan's impassioned flow, and a melodic hooks that hits just the right note of uplift, minus the corny-ness.

Respect to all the Indigenous artists raising it up each other and for a worthy purpose—celebrating Indigenous life, love, and power. That's what the movement is really about.

WATCH: Mic Jordan's "#DearNativeYouth"

Watch Tall Paul's New Video for "Walk Rite"


Anishinaabe MC Tall Paul releases a new music video for the track, "Walk Rite".

For the past several years, Minneapolis-based, hip-hop artist Tall Paul has been dropping tracks as part of his #AheadoftheGame series/mixtape, where he releases a new song each week the Minnesota Vikings play, prior to the game.

Last year he compiled those tracks into the Ahead of the Present mixtape, a nice collection of hip-hop jams and thoughtful lyrics.

Now the sunny and soulful, Bahwee-produced joint, "Walk Rite", gets a fresh visual treatment—just in time for #ThrowbackThursday—courtesy of Jake Handegard at Morningside Films and co-directed by Tall Paul. Check the clip and download the track below.

Watch Tall Paul - "Walk Rite"

DOWNLOAD: Tall Paul - "Walk Rite"

DOWNLOAD: Thomas X's, "Have a Good Day" EP


Stream and download Red Lake rapper Thomas X's new EP, Have a Good Day

Thanks to a #SwayintheMorning mega cypher featuring Minnesota-based MCs Tall Paul and Knox, we just got put on to Thomas X.

Part of the 100 Souls crew and Rez Rap Records, the Red Lake Anishinaabe MC is making moves and today he dropped his new EP, Have a Good Day.

Stream and download it for free on his bandcamp and support underground emcees putting in love and much work to support true hip-hop culture and Indigenous pride.

Have a Good Day is on some throwback to the boom bap era vibes, without dwelling in nostalgia. Thomas X kicks his laid back cadence with confidence and persona, weaving personal stories of struggle and survival over solid production from Mike the Martyr.

In the absence of institutional support and a larger urban scene, the Rez Rap crew has had to do it for themselves—building their production and audience brick by brick, listener by listener.

Thomas X holds it down on that front, filling the EP with bold declarations of love for his people, family, and homeland, while standing up to represent his nation and community.

Salute to all the Indigenous lyrical warriors on the come up. Now give Thomas X a listen.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Thomas X - Have a Good Day EP

Listen to "Ghost Town", the Lead Single from Nick Sherman's New Album


Stream Nick Sherman's "Ghost Town" the first single from his upcoming album, Knives & Wildrice.

Anyone following the Knives & Wildrice podcast knows two things: first, that Anishinaabe musician Nick Sherman has had a hell of a time making this record; and, second, that the record in question is going to be amazing.

Last week, I&C Media dropped the first single from said album, which shares its title with the eponymous podcast in question, and we were, of course, instantly hooked.

Sherman has the unique talent of being able to take his smoky, raspy vocals and pairing them with mostly acoustic elements and thoughtful lyrics, while managing to avoid the pitfalls of the corny "Cafe Radio", satellite channel-styled associations most often made with "singer-songwriter" music.

"Ghost Town" rings out with the personal, intimate touch that Sherman is already known for, and builds the song into a heartfelt plea for solace and "mercy from the storm".

Check Nick out this summer as part of the Red Ride Tour starting May 23rd in his hometown of Thunder Bay, ON.

STREAM: Nick Sherman - "Home Town"

Knives & Wildrice drops worldwide on May 23, 2015. 

DOWNLOAD: Nadjiwan - "Broken Treaty Blues"


We never know what Ojibwe/Finnish Marc Meriläinen's going to come up with next - the eclectic multi-instrumentalist has multiple projects that span electronic, atmospheric and rock. His latest single comes via Nadjiwan and we're stoked that "Broken Treaty Blues" is one to turn up, way up.

Written and recorded in one day in Meriläinen's own studio, he also performed all the instruments. A busy schedule has kept him from releasing more Nadjiwan material lately, but with the project's 20th anniversary coming up in 2015, this Nish Rock track is enough to keep us all in the loop and ready for more!

Hit play, download, listen up and sing along.

DOWNLOAD: Nadjiwan - "Broken Treaty Blues"

The Best Indigenous Music of 2013


2013 was a very good year for Indigenous music. Here are our favourite reasons why it's an incredible time to tune in. We're still here—and we're still making amazing music.

Look around you: from the front pages of websites, magazines and the news, to the halls of art galleries, centre stages, and dancefloors, clubs, festivals and playlists, Indigenous artists are at the forefront of almost every form of art and culture. And although we love all kinds of creative expression at RPM, this is a particularly inspiring time for Indigenous music.

In a year that began with the sound of the drum, and in the #RoundDanceRevolution that followed, our music has continued to keep us in time and on beat as the world marches ahead—with our people leading the charge.

As we spin back around for #Revolution2 here at RPM, we asked our Indigenous community to weigh in with their picks for the Best Indigenous Music of 2013.

Mohawk radio host, writer and artist Janet Rogers always knows what's up. At the top of her best album list is Derek Miller's Blues Vol. 1. Why? "Hot, rough, sexy, blues." Other top album picks from Janet are The Johnnys' Rock - "A generous offering of the Thinking Man’s Metal Music" and Patrica Cano, Songs from Tomson Highway’s the (post) Mistress, for her "sultry vocals with perfect pitch."

Anishinaabe broadcast journalist and writer Waubgeshig Rice just posted his Top 10 albums of the year, which includes the doomcore metal grind of Biipiigwan's Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone, and Leonard Sumner’s Rez Poetrywhich Rice praised as "a riveting portrayal of the unique struggles and triumphs of Anishinaabe people. It’s the album I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear."

The other Wab (Wabanakwut Kinew, that is), also picked Sumner's Rez Poetry along with Inez Jasper, Winnipeg Boyz, and powwow group North Bear as some of his favourites. Anishinaabe musician, scholar and organizer Melody McKiver listed some interesting additions, including Northern Voice's "Dance of the Moon" and shouted-out the Aboriginal 'Australian' MC K-Otic One's righteous hip-hop compilation the "Idle No More (Invasion Day)" mixtape.

Indigenous Waves radio host Susan Blight echoed many of our choices, and also shouted-out the latest from Quese IMC "Handdrum" for bringing "it all back to the roots; the importance of the sacred fire, the ceremonies, and the sound of the drum" and a unique collab between Just Jamaal and Lena Recollet "What's It All About" that was "released in solidarity with Idle No More--referencing broken treaties, environmental racism, and issuing a call for resistance all over slick production from Hyf the GypsySun".

And, of course, a certain Polaris Prize-nominated Indigenous crew seemed to pop up everywhere we turned and at the very top of everyone's 'Best of' list. But more on that later.

Shout-outs to these stellar releases:

K-otic 1 - "Idle No More Invasion Day Mixtape" PozLyrix - "Chicago Native" Impossible Nothing - "Alchemy" Derek Miller - "Blues, Vol. 1" Tara Williamson - "Lie Low" Rebel Diaz - "Radical Dilemma" The Johnnys - "Rock" Inez Jasper - "Burn Me Down" Kinnie Starr - "Kiss It" Eden Fine day - "Things Get Better" Fawn and Dallas - "Blessings"

The Top 10 Indigenous Albums of 2013


10. Frank Waln - "Born Ready EP"

Ascending to the hip-hop pedestal with a calm, collected confidence and wisdom beyond his years, Lakota MC Frank Waln turned the heads of almost everyone this fall when he dropped the powerhouse video for his NDN rap anthem "AbOriginal". With its massive "when I rise / you rise" hook, overflowing lyrical pride, and his obvious love for his people and nation, Waln brought some much-needed realness and a refreshing dose of youthful warriorism back into the Indigenous hip-hop game. Oh and The 1491s' Dallas Goldtooth directed a video for him. And did we mention that Waln composed, recorded and mixed all the tracks himself? And that he writes honorific rap dedications to his mother and grandmother? Yeah, good luck to the rest of you. Frank Waln is walking the talk. And raising the bar. Listen/download: http://frankwaln47.bandcamp.com/album/born-ready-ep

9. Cris Derksen - "The Collapse"

A now-ubiquitous fixture on the contemporary Indigenous music scene, Métis musician Cris Derksen's soaring cello melodies and effects-laden staccato bursts, beats and wailing cries, are a haunting, soaring, cinematic soundtrack to our peoples' burgeoning resurgence that give you chills and the increasing sense of possibility that so much is yet to come... Highly recommended. Listen/Download: http://crisderksen.virb.com/the-collapse

8. Kristi Lane Sinclair - "The Sea Alone"

Speaking of Cris Derksen, you can hear her cello stylings on Haida singer Kristi Lane Sinclair's latest grunge-folk album that, as its title invites, carries you across waves of solitude, heartache, reflection, fierceness and vulnerability.  Kristi’s voice ranges from a low growl to a sultry spell (including one of the best musical deliveries of the f-bomb in recent memory) and her style is not for the faint of heart, which is to say there is a frankness, darkness and richness on The Sea Alone that pulls you deeper into her world with each listen. Dive in. Listen/Download: http://kristilanesinclair.bandcamp.com/

7. Shining Soul - “Sonic Smash”

Shining Soul burst onto our playlists with their commanding album Sonic Smash just in time to make an appearance on the #NationHood Mixtape with their lead-off single "Get Up". But the whole album goes deep with soulful hip-hop anthems that strike back against oppression wherever they find it and find root in the strength and vitality of their creative expression. Listen/download:  http://shiningsoulmusic.bandcamp.com/album/sonic-smash

6. Tall Paul - “Birthday Present EP”

The remarkably consistent Anishinaabe MC from the Twin Cities, Tall Paul, keeps up his stellar record of releases with a head-knocking EP of assured, intelligent hip-hop that made its place on the list just for the standout storytelling track, "Taurus the Bull" (ft. $kywalker). The rest of the record rocks too. This is everyday rap responding to the real highs and lows of trying to survive and thrive in the game. And judging by the sounds of it, the struggle is in good hands. Tall Paul's got bars and keeps it moving, one beat at a time. Listen/Download: http://tallpaul612.bandcamp.com/album/birthday-present

5. City Natives - “4 Kingz”

The dynamic mic skills and boom bap-inflected east coast production of rising hip-hop stars City Natives bangs all the way through. Barely a year into their collaboration as a crew, City Natives brings together the multi-talented forces of Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl, and BnE, like a young Native rap Voltron. Featuring incredible beat production from Juliano, the pass and trade flows of this crew sounds hungry for respect, recognition, and social change in equal parts. If this is just the beginning, there's no limit to where things can go from here. Listen/Download: http://citynatives.bandcamp.com/album/city-natives-4-kingz

4. Leonard Sumner - "Rez Poetry"

Speaking of realness, you just can't get around the raw authenticity of Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner. Landing right near the top of almost everyone's year-end list, Rez Poetry, offers a clear-eyed personal take on choices and consequences, struggles and love, and the complexities of contemporary Indigenous life—all spun through Sumner's unique brand of Native roots music that is deeply infused with acoustic guitar hymns, hip-hop rhythms and cadences, and just enough country and rhythm & blues to rep the urban, rez, and everywhere-in-between Indians with equal power. Tune in, kick back, and dream of that open, prairie sky. Listen/download: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/leonardsumner

3. Leanne Simpson - "Islands of Decolonial Love"

Bridging many worlds, storylines, generations, and forms of creativity with effortless poetics and heartbreaking, deceptive simplicity, Leanne Simpson was the only Anishinaabekwe that we know of who dropped a full-volume of published stories and poetry in tandem with a collaboratively composed album of the same, set to the expansive sonics of many of Indian Country's rising stars (including Tara Williamson, Cris Derksen, A Tribe Called Red, and Melody McKiver). Halfway between story, song, and verse, Simpson's poems flow through you like long-forgotten dreams suddenly remembered. Inspiring, strong and swift, these are the currents of sound that surround each island of decolonial love. All that, and it's available digitally and as a beautifully bright orange analog cassette release. So go dig up that tape player from the basement and rewind into Simpson's hypnotic spell. Listen/download: http://arpbooks.org/islands/

2. Samantha Crain - "Kid Face"

Choctaw singer Samantha Crain is three albums deep, at twenty-seven years young, and her music already echoes and twists through generations of greatness. With her urgent, accomplished and irresistible craft on its finest display to date, Kid Face offers up Crain's melancholy-infused melodic brand of Americana with a suite of songs that navigate pain, love, loss and growth with an aching resonance of unvarnished truth. Samantha Crain is the real deal. The rest are just pale imitations. Listen/download: http://thelineofbestfit.com/new-music/album-stream/samantha-crain-kid-face-album-sampler-premiere-142954

1. A Tribe Called Red - “Nation II Nation”

What other praise can be given to our brothers from ATCR that hasn't already been said? Since dropping their plaintive instrumental "The Road" exactly one year ago today, in honour of Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement, A Tribe Called Red has continued their stratospheric rise from the booming dancefloors of the electric pow-wow to the forefront of the world's musical consciousness. Seemingly overturning every false colonial conception about being Indian in the 21st century with each kinetic set of party-rocking, this three DJ crew blows the roof off everywhere they go, while always reppin' for the people. With their second full-length album, Nation II Nation, ATCR single-handedly dropped the revolutionary soundtrack that we all knew we needed, while elevating and expanding the possibilities of contemporary Indigenous music culture and pushing their electronic/Indigenous aesthetic hybrid forms to new heights and levels of power. Raise your fist up and get ready. The Tribe stands with us—as we rise together. Listen/Download: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/listen-to-a-tribe-called-reds-new-record-nation-ii-nation

 STREAM: The Best Indigenous Music of 2013

DOWNLOAD: Tall Paul - "Protect Ya Spirit"


Leech Lake Ojibwe Tall Paul has rolled out the 13th track from his #AheadoftheGame series/mixtape and it's this week's #RPMdownload: Protect Ya Spirit.

With his #AheadoftheGame series, Tall Paul posts one song every day the MN Vikings play prior to the game. This solid track, the 13th in the series, features instrumental production by Sacramento Knoxx (off his The Rise of the Turtle beat tape).

Tall Paul has always had a way with words and a message worth taking to heart. We dig the advice from the John Trudell sample he delivers right off the top - "protect your spirit because you're in the place where spirits get eaten". Tall Paul takes it away from there - listen, download, share:

DOWNLOAD: Tall Paul - "Protect Ya Spirit"

DOWNLOAD: Quillbox - "The Apology"


Quillbox is the new project from Ojibwe/Finnish artist Marc Meriläinen and The Apology in the first, brand spankin' new single. Get it here.

Also the creator of NADJIWAN, Marc continues to explore genres and technology with his exciting new electronic project Quillbox. The first single is this week's #RPMdownload - The Apology, which features samples of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's infamous "apology" speech to Aboriginal people for the residential school system. It's a thought provoking mix of words, sounds, effects and emotion - what are your thoughts? Download the track now and leave your comments below.

 DOWNLOAD: "The Apology" - Quillbox

DOWNLOAD: Siren Call - "Lastone"


From a network of new emerging, electronic artists that includes Black Hands and Stone Mathers, this week's featured artist is Siren Call, of Wasauksing Nation.

Trevor Tabodandung, aka Siren Call, grew up taking in rap, rock and metal music, but it was an album by German elecro-house Digitalism that set him on path to exploring and creating his own house tracks. "I'm still learning lots about how to make music, but I like to make sounds I want to hear" says the young artist from Parry Sound, Ontario. Well Siren, we like the sounds too. Download this track to sweeten up your summer listening.

DOWNLOAD: Siren Call - "Lastone"

DOWNLOAD: Plex - "Chasin'"


We have an exclusive new download of Plex's track Chasin' from his upcoming album Demons.

Plex is an award-winning Canadian hip-hop veteran based out of Toronto but originating from Edmonton's north end. Known first for his role in the rap collective Won 18, Plex has since surged out on his own solo ventures, receiving critical acclaim and awards on his journey.

Soon to be releasing his newest project entitled Demons, Plex shared with us this preview of one of the new tracks, Chasin', which focuses on the societal ailment facing the music industry's materialistic conscience.

This is another deadly banger by Plex, and will sure to be gracing your playlists this summer. Boom.

DOWNLOAD: Plex - "Chasin'"

Keep an eye on RPM for more info on Demons, and visit iamplex.com.

VIDEO: Young Jibwe Speaks


Last year, Ojibwe hip-hop artist Young Jibwe attended the Mayday: No One is Illegal gathering in Toronto - an annual march and protest that takes place around the world in pursuit of equality and justice for immigrants and refugees. There, Young Jibwe was inspired to make an impromptu speech from the stage. A year later, he is sharing more of that story and inspiration.

Young Jibwe didn't plan on speaking at the March, but among the many placards and signs with messages of anti-poverty, environmental justice, and health for all, one sign in particular grabbed his attention: "Gay people are killed in Iran".

It's a true and disturbing fact.

Fueled by that information, Young Jibwe asked if he could speak from the stage and, mic in hand, he delivered spontaneous, impassioned and inspired words.

Later, he wanted to share more of the story behind his speech. "I wanted people to get a good insight of me, so they can see and hear the inspiration for themselves", he told RPM.

The result is this video with live footage of Young Jibwe's speech intercut with a candid and open offstage interview about his life experiences - including forced gender reassignment at birth, enduring harassment and abuse as a youth, discovering his past, and sticking with his music despite the difficult times. Through it all, Young Jibwe continues to transform his experiences into music - surely the best medicine of all.

Watch and listen here and be inspired to share your story too. I think whenever anyone is honest about their experiences, it can be healing for all of us.

For more of Young Jibwe's beats and music, go to reverbnation.com/youngjibwe (you can also hear some of his work in every episode of the RPM Podcast - yup, we're big fans!).

VIDEO: Young Jibwe Talks Success

#FrybreadFriday: The Most Fried Bread of 2011


It's been a delight to bring you #FrybreadFriday every week since RPM launched in June, and here on the last Friday of the year, I'm looking back on all the frybread ground we've covered - in music, film, dance and of course the kitchen.

Some of my favourites have been the frybread riot scene from Smoke Signals, the interpretive dance of frybread, the photo set of frybread stands that got mention in The Art of the Rural, and the trailer for the much anticipated mocumentary More Than Frybread.

But above all, and winner of my one-time only Most Fried Bread award, is Helen Roy making Zaasakokwaan. Her laugh, her singing in the kitchen, her making the dough by feel, all embody the heart and warmth of frybread Friday at its best.

Here she is, in an encore performance:

And with that, happy New Year frybread makers!

p.s. Zaasakokwaan: Ojibwe for frybread.