Canada’s rap scene has been on the up-and-up for years now, and today two of the country’s more promising acts have combined forces: Rapper Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon, and breakout producer Kaytranada meet on “My Crew (Woooo)”, a banging ode to their current Montreal digs.
Both artists have received Polaris Music Prize recognition in the past — Pemberton for 2012’s Hope in Dirt City, Kaytra for 2016’s acclaimed 99.9% — and it shows here. The MC’s flow works like a spell, wavering between calm and collected and straight fire; meanwhile, Kaytranada douses Pemberton in one of the coolest arrangements of his beatmaking repertoire, squiggly, aquatic and a world all its own.
Pemberton offered up some backstory on the track in a statement:
“’My Crew (Wooo)’ is an anthem about unapologetically being who you want to be, no matter what anybody else thinks. There’s a sense of personal freedom that’s unique to Montreal and ‘My Crew (Woooo)’ is a representation of that feeling. It’s the Brooklyn of Canada. It’s where every artistically minded person goes to freak-out for a few years and find themselves. The music scene in Montreal is very insular, you’re always meeting friends and making music. I met Kaytranada while DJ’ing in Montreal a few years ago and we’ve become friends. ‘My Crew’ is a song about defying the labels that people try to place on artists. Is it underground? Mainstream? Conscious? Trap? Who cares, as long as it sounds dope.”
Stream it down below.
Update — Wednesday, May 3rd at 12:20 p.m. CT: The official video for “My Crew” has been revealed (via FADER). The futuristic, Hype Williams-inspired clip was directed by Kevin Calero and finds Pemberton suspended in midair. According to the musician, Calero helmed it with the same equipment used in the Oscar-nominated film Arrival.
“My Crew” is presumably off Pemberton’s next Cadence Weapon album. For Kaytranada, the track follows collaborations with Alicia Keys and Mick Jenkins.