Hillside Summer Festival 2018

July 13 - 15

Cadence Weapon

Cadence Weapon

Called Canada’s “most creative” rapper by the National Post, Cadence Weapon has consistently exhibited a passion to take rap into new and unexpected directions. Born in Edmonton, Roland “Rollie” Pemberton had an upbringing uniquely suited to becoming a rapper. His father Teddy, a Brooklyn native, was the DJ that introduced hip-hop to Edmonton with his pioneering radio show The Black Experience in Sound on CJSR 88.5 FM. In 2010, he was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Stylus DJ Awards. After spending his childhood immersed in his father’s diverse archive of music, Rollie started rapping at age 13.

Soon, he was entering freestyle battles, rocking shows with his uncle’s funk band and teaching himself how to make beats. Following the online success of his Cadence Weapon Is The Black Hand mixtape, Rollie released his self-produced debut album Breaking Kayfabe in December 2005 at the age of 19. The album was met with international critical acclaim, with the BBC praising its mix of “vivid, scattershot rhymes” and “techno-tinged beats.” Cadence performed shows around the continent with artists such as Diplo, Mos Def, De La Soul and Raekwon. It was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Prize.

His 2008 sophomore album Afterparty Babies was released in the USA on Epitaph’s Anti- imprint and in the UK on Big Dada Records, bringing his music to a much wider audience. The New York Times remarked upon the album’s “dense, tricky productions that pile samples and scratching atop techno and electro beats” with the Guardian claiming Cadence’s “darting intelligence and racing imagination are evident in every line.” The album was supported by extensive worldwide touring including festivals like Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Roskilde, Primavera Sound and the Great Escape and opening slots for bands like Public Enemy.

In 2009, Rollie Pemberton was appointed Poet Laureate of Edmonton, making him the literary ambassador of his home city for two years, during which he was invited to read poetry for an event at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He followed up this literary stint with 2012’s Hope In Dirt City, an album produced by Rollie recording live instruments and sampling them for his beats. “I wanted to make it ambiguous between where the sample ends and the live band begins,” he told Paste Magazine. The album was his second to be shortlisted for the Polaris Prize.

Now based in Toronto, Cadence is back with a new self-titled album that expands his stylistic range by incorporating elements of trap, funk, electro, techno and grime. Featuring guest appearances by Blue Hawaii and Deradoorian and production by KAYTRANADA, Jacques Greene, FrancisGotHeat, Harrison, Dubbel Dutch and more, this record finds Cadence refining his songwriting as he explores themes of individuality, race, technology and existentialism through his expressive lyrics.

Listen to Cadence Weapon on Spotify

Performance Schedule

  • Friday, July 13th at 5:55pm

    Island Stage
  • Friday, July 13th at 10:10pm

    Island Stage