It was nearly two year ago that I came across the name Cadence Weapon for the first time. His debut LP, Breaking Kayfabe, was being reviewed by Clayton Purdom of Coke Machine Glow, and all I could think about was how perfect that name was... Cadence Weapon. Those two words seemed to sum up the true (or should I say original) intention of rap. There are many meanings to be found for the word cadence, but perhaps my favorite is as follows, "The pattern of stressed & unstressed syllables at the word, line, sentence, and paragraph level. You might think of it as sort of the drum beat of words." (from The Online Poetry Dictionary) Cadence Weapon can definitely use his "drum beat of words" as weapon as he battles he way up the hip hop ranks.
At 21, Edmonton native, Rollie Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon) has accomplished quite a bit. Even before the release of 2005's Breaking Kayfabe, he had released the wildly popular mixtape, Cadence Weapon is the Black Hand, written reviews for Pitchfork and he also ran his own blog. Now as he prepares to begin the next chapter in his career he has found a new sound, signed to Epitaph Records (US), signed to Big Dada Records (UK) (who just released Breaking Kayfabe on 9/24), formed several diverse friendships, and is battling on a whole new level.
Recently, Rollie took some time out from mixing his new album, Afterparty Babies (March, 2008), and preparing for his fall tour of the states to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): Your debut LP, Breaking Kayfabe, was well received across the United States as well as Canada. As a former music critic, do you read your own reviews? With the state of music being what it is, do you think a positive review holds more or less weight then it did five years ago?
Cadence Weapon (CW): I always try to read my reviews. It's interesting to see what people think my music means or what lyrics I'm actually saying or what direction I'm taking. People are buying albums less and less, but nowadays, if you get over a 9 on Pitchfork, you're still gonna move some units. So I think it actually means a lot more. Now people won't even get your album on OiNK if the reviews aren't good enough, let alone buy it.
OA: What can we expect from your new album, Afterparty Babies?
CW: For a lot of my existing fan base to be a bit confused. It's probably 75% four-on-the-floor dance music with rap over top of it. There's a song made out of human sounds I made in the booth. There's a couple of the most traditional rap songs I've done on it as well. It's an interesting record and I really, really like it.
OA: What is you opinion of the current state of hip-hop?
CW: I think rap is cool. I listen to a lot of Bay Area rap and they have some great beats and ideas. The Turf Talk album is insane. There are lots of inspiring emcees out there and I just figure there's a paradigm shift coming where people will just get sick of hearing T-Pain all the time and they'll want something different. I think T-Pain has the line of the year though. In the song "My Girl's Got A Girlfriend", in response to his girlfriend cheating on him with another girl: "It really is not a problem!"
OA: You don't shy away from working and touring with a diverse group of musicians. How did you come to work with Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and Matthew Adam Hart (Russian Futurists)? Could there be any future collaborations with either of them or other like minded musicians?
CW: Matt is my label mate and we drink beers whenever I'm in Toronto. He's a smart guy with great music taste, so I can't imagine we wouldn't be making music together in the future. I'm really trying to get him to rap, because he was a rapper before he sang. I met Owen through the press junket for the Polaris Music Prize last year. We got paired up to be on the cover of Eye Weekly in Toronto and have since become friends. I am looking into sampling some stuff of his for a future project.
OA: Your lyrics are quite thoughtful, have you considered writing anything other than lyrics? Could there be books or essays in your future?
CW: I dream of writing a book some day. Maybe even a screenplay. I have an idea for a book that is based purely on the analysing different cities during a tour, but it's harder to do than to talk about it. I don't wanna be one of those dudes who says 'Yeah, so I'm writing a book....'and it never materializes. It'll happen one day.
OA: What's next for Cadence Weapon?
CW: A better diet, Afterparty Babies in March 2008, touring the US in October with Final Fantasy, hitting Europe in November, turning 22 in February, fixing my chipped tooth, having fun with strangers at rap shows for the foreseeable future.
Black Hand (mp3)
OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
CW: To quote Andre Nickatina, I don't drink coffee but I love Pam Grier. I'm huge into London Fogs though. It's earl grey tea mixed with vanilla syrup and foamed milk.
OA: What was the last great book you read?
CW: Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste by Lester Bangs.
For more information on Cadence Weapon visit his website or check out his myspace page.