Edmonton names hip-hop artist latest poet laureate
Roland Pemberton, the 23-year old hip-hop artist who performs as Cadence Weapon, was named Tuesday as the City of Edmonton's third poet laureate.
"I believe it's a valuable resource to have this post in the Edmonton arts community and I will make the most of this appointment," he said at the city's announcement Tuesday morning.
Pemberton has accumulated high-profile awards and recognitions in his music career. He was nominated for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize in 2006 for his debut album Breaking Kayfabe and has won the Canadian Independent Music Award for best urban artist/group.
His second studio album, Afterparty Babies, was released in 2008. Pemberton is also a DJ and producer and has written a music column for one of Edmonton's alternative weeklies.
Pemberton was raised in Edmonton and still makes his home in the city. His father was the late Teddy Pemberton, a CJSR radio host who is widely credited for introducing rap music to Edmonton. Pemberton's grandfather is Edmonton Eskimo great Rollie Miles, who played for the team from 1951 to 1961.
Pemberton was nominated as poet laureate by Edmonton filmmaker Trevor Anderson.
His initial reaction to the nomination was, "as if", he said, but he reconsidered as he thought more about it.
"I mean I'm an Edmonton guy, I'm a community guy. I talk about Edmonton in most of the pieces, work, I do," he said.
Pemberton said he would like to use his role as poet laureate to change people's perceptions about poetry.
"I'd like to broaden what people consider poetry to be. Basically I plan to do a lot of weird poems that people will definitely not think are poems and I'd like to … maybe make the idea of poet laureate something that people think about," he said.
Pemberton follows University of Alberta professor emeritus Ted Blodgett in the position. Alice Major was Edmonton's first poet laureate between 2005 and 2007.
Pemberton starts his two-year term on July 1.