The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Polaris Music Prize finalist Cadence Weapon recommends reliving rock music in New York City through this book

The rapper and poet discusses Lizzy Goodman's oral history of the indie rock 'n' roll music scene, Meet Me in the Bathroom.
Cadence Weapon is currently reading and enjoying Lizzy Goodman's oral history of rock 'n' roll in New York City, Meet Me in the Bathroom. (Courtesy of Cadence Weapon)

Edmonton rapper and poet Cadence Weapon makes his third appearance on the Polaris Music Prize shortlist with the album Parallel World.

Album art for Parallel World by Cadence Weapon. (eOne Music Canada)

The Polaris Music Prize annually celebrates the best Canadian album of the year, awarding the artist $50,000. There are 10 albums on the shortlist. The winner will be announced on Sept. 27, 2021.

Parallel World is an exploratory and moody rap record, which makes distinct references to Black experiences, histories and archives in Canada. The 26-minute album opens with Africville's Revenge, an ode to the nearly 150-year-old Black community that was demolished in the 1960s by the City of Halifax.

Cadence Weapon, given name Rollie Pemberton, is also an essayist. His self-titled newsletter is a dissection of politics, music, art and life and he's currently at work on a memoir, Bedroom Rapper, to be released in 2022.

In 2017, Cadence Weapon read Lizzy Goodman's memoir Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011. He told The Next Chapter why he loved it.

A rock 'n' roll oral history worth reading

"It's basically an oral history of the rebirth of rock 'n' roll and the indie rock scene in New York with bands like the White Stripes, The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. For me, this was very formative music right around the period when I started putting out my own music. I love music oral histories — specifically, I like to collect them. With this one being a fairly new one, I was on it right away.

It gives you a solid picture of what was happening at the time, both culturally as well as artistically.

"It's exciting to go back and listen to the old albums and then follow along while reading the story of how these bands became popular. It's cool to see how all the different kinds of artists are interconnected within scenes. It gives you a solid picture of what was happening at the time, both culturally as well as artistically."

This interview originally aired on Nov. 27, 2017. Cadence Weapon's comments have been edited and condensed.

Watch | CBC Music profiles Cadence Weapon

Cadence Weapon | Parallel World | Polaris Short List 2021

2 years ago
Duration 1:56
Cadence Weapon's album Parallel World is shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize.

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