Snotty Nose Rez Kids with DJ Kokum made Calgary the first stop at Commonwealth Bar & Stage on their cross-Canada Trapline Tour. The rap artists brought out Indigenous people who are already tuned in with their sound along with a room filled with a mix of backgrounds who were united in moshing, fashion and friendship.
Darren "Young D" Metz and Quinton "Yung Trybez" Nyce from Haisla First Nation, a northern community in B.C., follow in the footsteps doing what A Tribe Called Red did bringing “indigenous folks together and throw a party for them in an unfamiliar place.” That unfamiliar place is a night club, which, until recently was largely void of Indigenous faces.
“Ten years ago,” says Nyce, “when I was a kid growing up on our rez there was a lot of abuse when it came to alcohol. But now we're shifting. So you find a lot of Natives coming together around the stuff that we do or some stuff A Tribe Called Red does incorporating powwow into EDM music and bringing people together in club settings.”
Metz’s high pitched raps are fast and furious while Nyce’s deep and raspy vocals pull the weight. They rap over familiar beats such as Jay-Z’s “Ni**as In Paris” and throwback melodies to ‘90s R&B. It’s these instrumentals where they break out from into their own style.
“That's what we’re trying to do,” says Nyce. “Just make positive vibes all the way through.”
The rappers are known by Young D (Darren Mets) and Yung Trybez (Quinton Nyce) who interacted with the audience, breaking the crowd into a circle for their song, I Can’t Remember My Name, which was one of the night’s breakout anthems. PRODUCER: FLOYD BLACK HORSE from MRU Journalism on Vimeo.
Behind the turntables is Cheyanna Kootenhayoo, a.k.a DJ Kokum, from an Alberta First Nation who is also one of their show’s main acts. Fresh off a trip to Europe were she backed SNRK played two festivals, The Great Escape in Brighton and New School Rules in Rotterdam, Kootenhayoo wowed audiences on and off the stage.
“They hosted a boat cruise for their Canadian artists. I got to dee-jay there and show everyone what was up. It's pretty cool because they all were superhype about it. They didn't expect me because there's all these serious rapper dudes everywhere and there's this girl deejay. And then after I played everyone was like, Whoa!”
The up and rising DJ got her handle from a childhood nickname when friends started calling her Kokum. Initially at odds because of it means grandmother in Cree, Kootenhayoo came around to embracing it because it interpreted in a cool way. “People who don't know what I mean, think it means ‘cooking’. Like ‘cooking beats.’”
Kootenhayoo leans towards play trap, a dance mix about money, cars, girl and drugs that really popular with crowds and it is a lighter mix in the set.
“I'm an open format dee-jay so I play everything. I play a lot of hip-hop and always throw in some oldies.”
Built into the show was a stunning performance piece which united the crowd. Nyce and Metz cleared the center floor, got everyone on their knees in a circle around them creating a pow-wow rhythm with the group.
They then parted the floor down the center and initiated a back and forth name-calling game. One side were called Aliens and the other half were called Indians. The performance rocked the room.
- By Floyd Black Horse