Straight outta Winnipeg

Just as rap thrived amidst the racial strife and decrepitude of L.A., native rappers have found a muse in another troubled city

Straight outta Winnipeg

Brooklyn, Jon-C and Charlie Fettah (left to right) of Winnipeg’s Most | Photograph Marianne Helm

The West End Cultural Centre’s home is a former church located in the not-quite-gentrified Spence neighbourhood near downtown Winnipeg. The band posters lining the wall confirm the pedigree of the venue: everyone from Montreal’s Planet Smashers to Loudon Wainwright has played here. But the music of Winnipeg’s Most, a three-man native rap crew, is beyond even those eclectic boundaries.

On a recent Wednesday night, Charlie Fettah stomped around the stage, spitting tales of drugs, money and the dangerous allure of both into the microphone held tight against his lips. “The game got a funny way of pulling me back / Try to stay on the right side by making these tracks / Get away from the bad life, pushing it back / But I’m addicted to the fast life, I gotta get stacked.” Fettah and band members Jon-C and Brooklyn sported standard-issue rap gear: gold chains, tattoos, baseball caps turned sideways, oversized pants and T-shirts.

RELATED: A selection of videos from some of Winnipeg’s rappers and groups

The crowd of about 200 was almost entirely native—young kids, women pushing strollers, entire families and, in particular, teenage girls in crop tops and too much makeup. They bumped to the thick, droning beats and crowded the stage, mouthing the lyrics and shrieking whenever these included the “Northside,” the poor neighbourhood in the city’s north end mythologized on the band’s first album, Northside Connection.

All rap artists worth their gold have a crew, and as the lights went up, Winnipeg’s Most went to work, frisbeeing copies of their CD into the crowd. Their mike cords tangled, the band signed baseball hats, T-shirts and just about anything else thrust at them. This was tame by comparison; at a show not long before, they’d signed chests and foreheads. Someone ripped Fettah’s shirt right off his back.

There is a great, thumping noise emanating out of Winnipeg these days, propelled by a crop of artists bent on telling tales of their rough, windswept city. The city famous for the “Winnipeg Sound” of Neil Young, the Guess Who and a more recent crop of well-regarded indie rock bands is becoming better known for its beats and rhymes than its drums and guitars. There’s another twist: almost all these artists are native.

Winnipeg’s Most, which recently brought home Best Group and Best CD honours from the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, has a rabidly devoted fan base. A YouTube video of the band performing its first single has been viewed nearly 440,000 times since last December. Streetz FM, the city’s all-hip-hop station, began broadcasting at about the same time; it has Winnipeg’s Most on heavy rotation, along with native rappers Drezus, Manik and Young Kidd, among others.

Not all of the city’s rappers are native. There’s the Lytics, a four-man brothers-and-a-cousin group whose self-titled EP is a breezy, hook-heavy delight–De La Soul’s Three Feet High And Rising for the parka set. And there are the souled-out breakbeats of Magnum K.I., plus the grouchy nihilism of Pip Skid.

But natives garner the most attention. Rap—specifically, gangster rap—looms large in the city’s native community, which represents about 10 per cent of Winnipeg’s population. Just as rap thrived amidst the racial strife and decrepitude of Los Angeles, Aboriginal rappers have found a muse in Winnipeg, a city with a homicide rate 143 per cent above the national average.

“People feel like there’s something against them all the time, that there’s racism, that the police treat us differently,” says Lorenzo (Leonard Sumner), a hulking rapper originally from the Little Saskatchewan reserve north of the city. “It’s almost like [L.A. gangster rap pioneers] NWA in the early ’90s. That’s Winnipeg now, and instead of black people it’s native people.”

Native rap isn’t new: War Party, the genre’s pioneers, formed in the mid-nineties. What has made it increasingly popular and marketable is the quality of the acts now coming out of the community, as well as the burgeoning promotional muscle to bring bigger shows to the city: promoter Cass Elliott recently arrived from Vancouver, and has since brought in the likes of Pharoahe Monch and the Beatnuts.

“A lot of the early Aboriginal artists were horrible,” says Wab Kinew, a rapper, video director and CBC reporter based in Winnipeg. “They didn’t grow up loving hip hop but wanted to make rap, so the quality wasn’t there. But now the younger generation that has listened to hip hop their whole lives is coming up, and the quality has improved. The street scene found its voice.”

“People have been noticing, There’s really good rap here, maybe I should step my game up, get into a real studio,” says Melissa Spence, Streetz’s program director. “People are taking it a lot more serious now.”

But why Winnipeg? Were you to believe the cliché, it’s because the city is so cold so much of the year that fertile minds have no choice but to stay inside and produce. Perhaps equally important is the city’s isolation, and the rugged do-it-yourself hustle mentality it has engendered. Artists from Burton Cummings to Young Kidd, the half-black, half-native rapper widely considered to be the city’s first bona fide rap superstar, have worn many hats in their early careers: yes, they write and perform, but they do everything else as well.

Take Jon-C, of Winnipeg’s Most: “I record everyone, I mix the vocals, master the beats, do the artwork, the promotion. I built our online network,” says the 30-year-old gravel-voiced frontman, who’s also the brains behind a line of Winnipeg’s Most-branded coffee mugs, calendars and mouse pads.

It’s part of rap’s appeal: at its most basic, it requires little more than a microphone and a downloaded percussion track. “You can go to a drop-in centre with a pair of headphones and make a beat or download a beat,” says Pip Skid, a.k.a. Pat Skene, who teaches a hip-hop course to disadvantaged kids when not rapping about how much the world sucks. “That’s always been what rap is: making something out of nothing. A lot of these kids, the ones who don’t end up dead or going to jail, end up doing something in music.”

The city is dotted with recording studios, one of the more popular of which is located above a Chilean social centre in the north end of the city. On a recent Saturday afternoon, Young Kidd (Frank Fontaine) was in the glassed-in recording area where the air was thick with the smell of weed, rapping lines off his BlackBerry as producer Les Boulanger (a.k.a. Boogey the Beat) played synth and layered it over a sampled organ snippet. He added drums and cymbals and, finally, Kidd’s vocals. The resulting track, Clouds, will likely appear on Kidd’s forthcoming album, Wonderful Winnipeg.

“I just love Winnipeg,” says Boulanger, 22, a marketing major who has produced tracks for many Winnipeg acts as well as American rappers Outlawz. “It’s like we’re all in the same family. It’s a friendly competition going on, and we’re all starting to realize that people are listening to our music.”

But some believe an invisible wall keeps native rappers from being discovered. They have a sizable audience outside their community­—Streetz FM was recently voted best radio station by the local alternative newspaper—but there are few non-native faces at their shows. “White people are scared to go,” says Skene. Others blame the “native rap” moniker itself.

“I hate the term ‘native hip hop.’ It pigeonholes us,” says Hellnback (Karmen Omeasoo), a co-founder of War Party and, more recently, Team Rezofficial. At 32, he is one of the scene’s elder statesmen. “I’ve had number one videos on Much Music. Team Rezofficial was nominated for a Juno for Aboriginal artist of the year [in 2009]. I was honoured to be honoured, but at the same time, why weren’t we in the hip-hop category? I hate the idea that I’m ‘good for a native.’ Come on, man.”

He has a point. Hellnback’s delivery is something to behold; he packs every verse with as many syllables as musically possible. On tracks like 2006’s Keep It Movin’, a riff on love, suicide and perseverance set to an uptempo R & B hook, his pace quickens and his anger becomes all the more apparent as the song progresses. “This goes out to the youth from the elders in the form of a song / We losin’ many by the hand, for what we’re doing wrong / We lost the love and the will to carry on,” he raps.

Winnipeg hip hop is certainly better than good; it’s arguably better than much of what is being made anywhere else in Canada—the loudest noise you’ve never heard. Yet.




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Straight outta Winnipeg

  1. I teach junior high kids in Winnipeg's inner city. A few of them are in some of the videos from these 'artists'. I don't understand how they sleep at night knowing that they're teaching children that smoking pot, having sex with as many b*tches as possible, beating people up, shooting people, going to jail, etc. is cool. Thanks for making my job of developing healthy citizens even that much more difficult, @ssholes!

    • @SSHOLES, WENUCK! IF ANYTHING YOUR THE @SSHOLE, YOU CHOOSE WHAT TO DO IN LIFE AND IF YOUR GONNA BE A BAD KID THEN YOU ARE DOESNT MATTER WHERE YOU COME FROM OR WHAT YOU LISTEN TOO, CLOSE MINDED @ASSHOLE I HAPPEN TO THINK BILLY AKA JON-C IS DOING A GOOD JOB WOULDNT BE WINNING AWARDS FOR NOTHING

    • Maybe the teaching them about hoe's and weed is true, but they don't glorify jail, beat downs and shootings. Actually, the reason heatbag records was formed was because we lost friends to shootings, jail and ganglife. So, they don't glorify it at all, but of course close minded people like you blame that on the music. Do you really believe the music is what make inner city children 'Ghetto' and it's not the fact that they are growing up on streets where drugs, gangs, violence and death is common thing? Maybe you should think about changing your perfession and you won't have to hate to make yourself feel better, or better yet go teach in Charleswood where your strereotypical attitude will be more appreaciated. I really doubt that you help develpe health citiziens; it sounds more like you develope hate and stereotypes and thats what get these kids in trouble to start with.
      Ps. I sleep like a baby every night @sshole

      • If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck then it is a duck. Winnipegs Most is a duck.

    • i completely disagree with wd40. I am a social worker for cfs and this music helps these kids. They can identify with what these guys are saying and helps them to realize that they are not alone in their fight and that other people understand them. I actually buy the Winnipeg's Most cd for some of my foster kids, take them to the concerts, and the guys even signed a shirt for one of my girls, which made her unbelievably happy. Keep it up guys, you're doing a great job and are helping our kids realize that there is hope!

      • u need your job pulled then,,,thats how we help our kids?u don't know the whole pic which is why u should give up yer profession..its morons like u that jus keep em down…lot better things to show or do as role models then rappers..

    • There's always a hater to everything a person does that's good. Some people are jealous of these rappers, the rest just love them, and the ones that love them are the ones that matter. They did the same thing to Eminem with his music, said he was "Evil" and etc..etc..look at Eminem now, he's in an extrodinary league of his own, he's amazing!! AND the truth is, some Winnipeg youth do go through the same problems as them and they give a young kid from the ghetto hope. It's true, the youth IDENTIFY with this music and music is therapy. Please take your lame comments else where! They are artists, and great artists at that! – WINNIPEG STAND UP!!!!

    • You call yourself a teacher. I would be ashamed if I were you for having the nerve to write your comment. The lack maturity and the lack of care and concern you seem to have for our youths of Winnipeg is disguesting. Its easy to see that you are a 9-4 teacher and for you its just a job that you do and go home. You have chosen the wrong career. Besides getting a degree in teaching you should have to pass a test to see you have enough compassion to be a teacher, especially if you work in the inner city. Anyone can teach, but you also need compassion and true understanding of how and what it is like to come from a disfunctional home. I am glad that none of my children had a teach with your views.

      • or a parent like u Holly…..u know squat…

    • …..you forgot that theyre also teaching kids that anythings possible…..that a love for music can take you anywhere you want to go…every minute they spend writing raps, recording, touring, DOING INTERVIEWS ETC…is one less minute risking life and limb to simply just survive…….WINNIPEGS MOST REPRESENTS THE VOICE OF A PEOPLE WHO ARE TOO OFTEN UN HEARD…..perhaps you just also teach the kids postivity instead NEGATIVELY pointing your finger at the things that make the music so powerfull..real life isnt always hugs and warm milk…..

      BIGG CEASER
      DERILICT DESIGN / REEL AUDIOO

      • of a people??

  2. “It's almost like [L.A. gangster rap pioneers] NWA in the early '90s. That's Winnipeg now, and instead of black people it's native people.” Yeah it's just like Los Angeles in the early 80's……minus all the social welfare and government support. This statement shows how well Native victim hood has been romanticized here. I'm from Winnipeg, Lipton St, West End baby! and of course racism exists here, and not all of it is white. The Northend suffers from any real lack of hope, and also any real leaders. While many immigrant communities with language barriers manage to flourish, natives somehow flounder… But it only takes one generation to effect real change, and that change can only come from the people; strength in the face of adversity. Like the Martin Luther days…

    • speak on, brotha! couldn't agree more with what you say. the north end used to be a close-knit community of jewish people and eastern european immigrants who looked out for their families and each other. it was never a wealthy neighbourhood but it certainly wasn't the rat's nest it is now…

    • oh…gee…when did the north-end become a native only community..did i miss something?chek the stats…pioneers of the rap game are also looking at what their music did to their own ppl..i mean now that they've matured…go check it out and then comment…grow up even..

    • funding for aboriginal people making the transition from rural to urban areas was “less than 5 cents for every dollar spent on immigration settlements and transition”. – Canada West Foundation, Hanselmann, 2003:5. whish jives with what you say-  its way easier to make it on 93 cents than 4 cents. go figuer. I guess its more of an economic problem rather than race.

  3. This is yet another case of a band that it's more interesting to talk about than to listen to.

  4. These "gangsta rappers" should spend a Friday night in Atlantic City……

  5. You guys have no idea what you are talking about, stop discriminating and read the lyrics pal! These guys are very talented artists, trying to better the community and this slum that is called winnipeg. These guys inspire other musicians such as my self, and where once have they boasted bout beating the crap out of anyone who didn't deserve it? did you not read fettah's lyrics properly? It's people like you that discriminate and make this world a horrible place to live in….. And honestly atlantic city aint got nothing on the murder CAPITAL of canada like 6 years running.. and thats not even per capita … you come spend a night in winnipeg lanky make sure you check out the north side and dont forget to wear blue! it will help you out ;) your a wanker, you all are…. Keep doin your thing MOST crew you are mad inspiration to people of all colors …..

  6. STREETZ FM is garbage and in no way does it represent winnipeg hip hop as a whole. winnipeg is still not getting the shine it deserves.

    • Streetz FM is local, is real, is run by youth for youth. Streetz FM plays 40% Canadian, Streetz FM plays the best local hip-hop, if it sounds great, you'll hear it on Streetz. Without Streetz hip-hop is nowhere in Winnipeg.

      Peace…

      • Then let it go to 'nowhere'….its garbage, not art.

  7. your garbage … where's your music buddy? streetz represents not only winnipeg hip hop but canadian hip hop as well…. your all negative and hating cuz you have no life or no dreams and especially no appreciation !! Keep hatin cuz your only making yourself look stupid, your not affecting streetz in anyway u jerk off

    • pleaseeeeeeeeee…we know who they represent…..don't we….like seriously mike who r u…u'r a joke already…

  8. I have never seen such a pathetic group of people in my life, you all lead dismal exasperated lives, in go no where jobs, so you make yourselves feel better by putting others down because of their success. Do you honestly think your negative comments are effecting anyone?

  9. Hey Mike. Do artists like Young Kidd glorify gang life or do they not?

    • specially his latest…yep..winnipeg at it's finest…its called sellout…they have to or they wouldn't get anywhere..

  10. nah that other guy is right, streetz fm is garbage

  11. actually Im well connected with most of the guys in the winnipeg industry and as far as im concerned not a single one of them glorify the gang life douche bag.. your not listening to lyrics and your associating rap with the gang life… Second you haven't grown up in the north end or downtown or ek or west end , you clearly where not born into poverty and a malnourished lifestyle. I grew up on the streets of the north end I'm an artist my self and am in no way shap or form a gang member nore do i glorify the gang style of life, but it is a part of human life and for some people its all that they know, your comment is totally redundant, its like your blaming gang life on winnipeg's most crew… sorry jerk off #1 but the gang life was around long before these young guys who have turned a huge negative into a huge positive. And take legendary tupac shakur for example, definitely a gangster, and definitely a mind that changed music and generations for years to come, so do yourself a favour and keep your loose lips sealed…. and lyrics are lyrics pal, we got johnny cash singing racist tracks such as ( send them n*ggers back send them apes to the trees ) … why arent you speculating on horrible music such as this… your a racist cracker you deserve a smack up side the head… on that note give your head a shake old man

    • your full of it mike…cuz if u that close then u too are a hypocrite….they still slinging the white whether u wanna admit it or not…u can't pull the wool over the publics eye any longer..thats jus the way it is…exposure comes sooner or later…Bottom line is quit using the role model crap and i think ppl will leave it alone…some of us out here no them better then anyone will…ever…not against what they doin music wise..jus against them usin everyone for their own purposes..period…The bikers have teddy bear runs…does that make it all ok???

  12. Being a life long aboriginal Winnipegger, this story embarrasses me… I'm ashamed that the aboriginal people of Winnipeg haven't found a more creative or talented way to express their strife… the whole rap thing is hardly original and glorifying crime and gangs and crooked ways of getting money is not talent or remotely interesting

    • Thats unfortunate that you feel that way. We Aboriginal people face enough controversy for being who we are without having to come down on one another. I know these guys personaly and grew up beside one of them. We saw it all growing up in the north end but we went through a lot and yes he even went the wrong way for awhile. And why you ask…when its the only thing you see and know and is glorifed by your honky tonk drinkin parents then you are indeed a product of your environment.
      However here comes a man who's seen and done it all who loses friends to a life a gangs and death with no way to express how he feels. Insert music…YES rap music but music none the less and all of a sudden his whole world changes and he learns to express himself in a creative, artistic and very talented way. He works night and day to develop this talent and is no longer going with society but is breaking all of the stereotypes of the loser that is is supposed to be. And I will tell you one thing…you will NEVER find a more dedicated and harder worker than him and he is doing things that one would have never thought possible. And WOW is he good at it..you should take a listen sometime.

    • He sees the kids of his neighbourhood going through the same struggles that he himself went through as a kid and all he wants to do is go to schools events and community to tell them that theres a better way. He and his crew set up community events and charities to encourage the north end to have pride in itself and to share his music and talents with his community. He wins awards and all he wants to do is thank his city.
      I will tell you one thing as a final thought….you will NEVER find a more proud sister than I am.
      P.S. This north end woman just happens to be a masters educated person who also saw it all and still is successful in life and who works to help communities. Hows that for pride :) Thank you

    • your obviously a rocker or other genre lover.. either way it gives u know right to say what our aboriginal youth are listening to these days, they obviously int following your footsteps…….. your a joker, someone who sits there and blames society for our inner city problems instead of goin out there and doin somthing or being somebuddy to these troubled youth AKA OUR NEXT GENERATION….. ur a bon-fied LOSER

    • what like make dream catches and hunt and trap this aint the old days plain and simple you should be inbarresed of yourself for looking down apon aboriginal guys who are making a change your pathedic you dont no these guys from a whole in the ground so shut your face and kick yourself in the teeth you old whore

  13. Just another bunch of losers making a buck off the poor by glorifying the wrong parts of Winnipeg. Actually no talent losers ryhming four letter words with other four letter words.

    I guess its a slow week if Macleans has to do an article on this.

    • we neevr glorify anything buddie its the storys of are life the things we seen growing up the things we did to change it we give back 110 percent you clown your nothing its ppl like you who think its just about the money to winnipegs most its for the heart for the ppl for the ppl still living bye them self not off daddys or your familys money trynna make a buk he says we got money goof we never graduated never got anything from school we learnt it all are selfs so suck me off broke 9 to 5 hater hahah

      • another hypocrite…tell the truth is all..phoney comment

  14. on that note wheres macleans article on you? …. with success comes you douche bags…. aka haters

  15. winnipegs most………4get the haters…..they juss being jealous we natives….thats alll even the cops ….but they all aint the same there are cool people….native rap….WINNIPEG…NORTHSAIDE TO WEST MF

  16. NORTHSIDE TO WEST MF……******

  17. The problem with everyone's comments, is they lack the same originality that this article lacks.

    I am not impressed by a rehashed story that could of been taken from any poor inner-city though out North America, and instead of focusing on the talent, skills or the desire within to create something better of themselves, would rather to position the story as drug using wannabee's following the example of LA Gangsters. Its this type of predetermined stereo types that we label everyone we meet with, the continues to further the discrimination that everyone constantly faces.

    Its also too bad, that Young Kidd, who wants to be a role model for those listening to his lyrics, or follow in his footsteps, would ensure that the reporter got a good dose of his lyric sprouting methods, having the air full of the smoke of weed. Just another example of how you can do so good, and then shove your own shot foot straight in the mouth.

    Westside Winnipeg above also uses Martin Luther in his rebuttal, willing to use the name of a great martyr who wanted there to be no colors, no racism, as he had a dream. You are on the right track, but it wont get there until we stop using the monikers, Native American, White, Black, Asian, etc. And start looking at the human race.

    • herey herey….

  18. It is likely that if these children are listening to Winnipeg's Most music that they would likely be listening to other 'Rap' artists anyway. It is an old story to blame the actions of people on the music they listen to. These artists attend charity events, perform community shows, and are proud of their aboroginal culture, Kids are learning to be confident in themselves and to give back to their community to make it better, this is a positive thing. Winnipeg's Most have a desire to provide hope to the kids who are currently growing up in the lifestyle they did. And with their success I'm sure they will give more and more back to their community. To the kids who truely listen to the lyrics of their music , they may find the inspiration to chase their dreams. That just because of where they grew up, that they can succeed too.

    Despite some people's stereotypes that everyone in the North End is living the 'gang life'. ahem.

  19. Glorifying gang life? Since when has Winnipegs Most done this? Lol listen to the lyrics! And try living here in Winnipeg and getting a career, they is tons of racism here!!! Big time!

  20. This rap group has inspired a lot of people, there are so many different groups today that are 10x better than any others 10 years ago. they're giving the younger generation actual hope for actual fame and success, they're making unreal dreams possible. I'm proud to say that I know some of these people, and I'm so very happy for their success. This is just the beginning, and they're in National magazines, couple years possibly, probably less I'd bet that they'd be international artists, celebrities, and it makes me so proud that they come from Winnipeg, as aboroiginal artists they have shined a light in such a dark city. They deserve the attention and succes they've earned!

  21. its funny when idiots talk, even though its not your fault your retarded

  22. None of u's know squat about the beginnings,and it jus amazes and opens my eyes even more so ta see papers and magazine articles that pump out second-hand editorials…Why is this an aboriginal thing to begin with?If u knew yer stuff u'd know it started not because they were aboriginal…Did everyone forget the other blood they carry? Irish French English???Everyone and everything has a purpose..and being aboriginal doesn't mean u know everything there is about adversity's…Yes the lyrics can be mistrued like every other genre..to each there own when they are tryin to identify with the songs,as always, we all have our reasons for listening to a particular song or group and its always been that way..BUT DON'T EVER TRY AND FOOL ANYONE INTO BELIEVING THIS DOESN'T PROMOTE OR AT LEAST SUGGEST THAT THIS LIFE IS OK SLINGING THE WHITE POWDER OR USIN VIOLENCE JUST BECAUSE ITS PART OF THE GAME OR BECAUSE YOUR FROM A PARTICULAR AREA OF THE CITY..THATS JUST A CRUTCH…To all u's that are usin this groups name for your own agenda's,get a life…always riding on someone else's back…been there done that and definately know what and who i talk of..personally….

    • Its called telling your story not promoting it. Not eveyone is trying to deny what the lives of some of these artists have been like. The WHOLE point is that they have found a better way of living their lives and go out into the community and let these youth know that there is a different reality that is theirs to have if they work hard enough for it. Why can't they talk about it??
      I don't use where I come from as a crutch and have done what I have needed to do in life to get where I needed to get with blood, sweat and tears and it has nothing to do with what race I am but who I am as a person. There is nothing wrong with being proud of being who you are no matter what you are. I am Aboriginal and Irish and am proud of both. My brother tells stories through his music of his life experience both the good and the ugly and he doesn't hide who he is or where he comes from. The reason why its about being Aboriginal is because this article is about aboriginal rappers in Winnipeg.

      • then u should get to know your brother and what he really is and does..not what he jus tells you…cuz obviously he hasn't…..or what association he belongs too…black they fly..u can't be a hypocrite in the limelight and unfortunately he is..no smack on him..jus realism…it's gonna come back and bite him in the butt if he portraying sumthin he's not…and he is…i hope he see's that…soon

  23. Thugs. Why are we celebrating these criminals?

    • Do you know them personally? Have you ever had a conversation with anyof them? Maybe you should, you might learn something about yourself.

  24. what people cant mistakes? and over come them? you also give your head a shake there disappointed…. plenty of people have had a criminal record or got arrested and still overcame adversity to be something great…. now look at george w bush… not a great man at all but someone with more than one criminal charge including drug possession.. becomes the president of united states of america? yet your worried about some incredible musicians? we arent celebrating criminals we are celebratig change, diversity, freedom, the right to freedom of speech, over coming poverty, we are celebrating this beautiful multi cultural country that we live in!. But then we got brain suckers such as your self who try to bring everyone down because they didnt lead the life you did…

  25. The funny thing is, there is WAY better hip hop coming outta Winnipeg than these guys. Winnipeg's Most claims to be a group of "gangsta rappers", and it's pretty far fetched. Why didn't the author of this article reference Abstract Artform, Flowbusters, MKAPS, The Happy Unfortunate, Lyrical Militant, Birdapres, and countless other artists that are making grass roots hip hop here in the city. Good music that talks about REAL life in Winnipeg, not some fake ass gangsters. No bling, no tattoos, no b*^ches… Just real MC's with funky break beats and bluesy slow jams. That's what hip hop is, not who has the biggest rims and the most guns. C'mon music lovers, it's up to you to decide…

    • because all those guys except birdapes arent very good and they arent seeking spot light and where all born into good families and homes and didn't live through the struggle the most crew lived through….. i love all the guys on peanuts and corn matter of fact they are some of the sickest rappers ever, but its 2 completely different styles of rap with very different goals in their eyes. stop making biast opinions… if you where a true music lover a true local supporter than it shouldn't matter everyone has different tastes bud…. i support local music of all forms, from hip hop to death metal…… where do you think music would be tpoday if it wasnt for gangster rap buddy? use your brain…there would be no underground mc's period! you clearly are lacking knowledge

      • where would music be??what a farce…even the early gangsta rappers see what their songs have done to a generation of their own..mike u sure have a lot ta say…almost like we should believe in u..far from it..there's nuthin positive about gangster rap period..and if u think your lil peabrain is gonna change the masses opinion then u really are as young and nieve as u sound…rap may have some big names in it these days but they don't make up barely a slice of overall music sales…real music that is…please go read up on the ill's to society this sub-genre has brought..

    • because there all washed up half those guys you mention are in there late 30s time to throw the towel in we the new it we the now your just a hater who cant stand that real ppl maid it instead of these guys who lived with mommy till they were 28 never got a job till 30 rapped bout so called real hip-hop and neevr got any sucess in 20 nyeARS WHEN WINNPEGS MOST MAID SUCSESS IN 2 YEARS EVERY YOUTUBE VIDEO THEY GOTS OVER HUNDRED THOUSANDS VIEWS SO COMPARING THEM TO US ISISNT EVEN CLOSE OR THED BE WINNIPOEG AWARDS THEYDE HAVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IOF VIEWS BUT DO THEY HAHAHAHAHA NOPE SO SIT DOWN SHUT UP N BE REAL WITH YOURSELF

    • grand analog!!

      mood ruff!!

      <3

    • well I guess we should give some credit to these guys that not only are they great artists they know how to market their gifts. Step back and appreciate the talent, it is making a difference and even if these guys need to make some changes doing so will model this to their fans too! Seriously good role models can come from everywhere. People learn the most when they learn form mistakes. Like you are all perfect., maybe its time that you chose peace and not hate. Take a good look in the mirror if you are judging. It's damn time to have some people doing something positive rather than waiting for someone else. Plus here is a first nations dude, a metis dude , and a white guy cooperating, there is a lot to learn from that too.

      • great reply…………..I also hear the white guy's Mother is part native

      • then why stamp it as an aboriginal rap group??

  26. I guess my issue with the article is that it lacks substance. Why was this made to be an aboriginal issue? Would the same have been said if more white people were doing soca music? This piece brings us right back to the place we are running from – where every thing is about race. It would have made for a much better read had they omitted the cultural aspect and focus on the music, or did the author figure that the music couldn't stand on its own…*message*
    PS – The author CLEARLY knows little of the scene in Winnipeg, or his "paragraph"(and I use that term quite loosely") on the rest of Peg City's finest would have been ALOT more in-depth.

  27. it's music that's that. They're speaking nothing but the truth, truth hurts, they're rapping about what they've been through, they're trying to overcome the stereo types but all you ppl are doing is labeling them as gangster thug drug dealers you dont have to twist this into something so complicated. This is all very simple, they love music, they're making music, their fans love their music, that's that and so what if this article is an aboriginal issue, what's wrong with that, why do white people feel to need to always be involved, just for once abos are in the center of attention, and no wyou have a big problem with it because someones noticeng the talents in our aboriginal people, and their are tons of articles about white people doing their soca music and whatever else genres there are. For the first time they're actually spotlighting aboriginal artists and every racist PHuck out there has a problem with it like really get a life im pretty sure you have more serious things to worry about instead of "omg no theyre showing people that the aboriginal people are actually civil talented warm hearted people just trying to do what they love quit blowing this WAY OUT OF PROPORTION

    • hey im white and love all people :( especially everyone one in the industry in winnipeg! DONT HATE THE PEOPLE HATE THE PERSON! BUT I TOTALLY AGREE WITH WHAT YOUR SAYING! i hate haters!

      • sry it was meant for everyone, just that person who had a problem with the fact that its an aboriginal article, and anyone else who had the same problem. Glad to know that there are actually good people out there like you :)

      • sorry it wasnt meant for everyone just that one person in particular who had a problem with the fact that its abo issue sry! Your a nice person its to great to know that there are wholesome people out there!

        • "Abo"? Say that in Australia!

          • short for aboriginal , helloooo

  28. Wow, I would never let my kids listen to these guys, all they do is talk about Drinking and smoking weed and how bad they are….That Not Native or Indian…These guys are not role modals… the real role modals are Chief Dan George, Crazy Horse, A.I.M. and the list go's on….

    • NAME TEN ENW SONGS WE TALK BOUT SMOKIN WEED SHOOTING DOING ANYTHING BUT TALKING BOUT CHANGE OR A TORY WEVE BEEN THREW NAME EM BUDDIE YOUR PSATHEDIC CHEIF BLE BLE BLE WHO GETS MORE MONEWY THEN A WHITE GOVENER OR PPOLITION FUKING BEAT IT FOR DOING WHAT SPENDING THE INDIANS MONEY ON HIS OWN BUISNESS SOME HERO YOU GOT BUDDIE

    • THOSE GUYS ARE ALL DEAD, THESE GUYS ARE ALL LIVING. ITS TIME TO MAKE NEW ROLE MODELS. AND AT LEAST THEY'RE ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO SOMETHING FOR OUR NATIVE PEOPLE AND MAKE US LOOK GOOD. WHAT DOES ANY OTHER NATIVE PERSON DO?? ITS TIME TO STAND UP AND DIP OUR HANDS IN THE COOKIE JARS OF LIFE, IN ANYTHING! IT JUST SO HAPPENS THESE GUYS ARE DOING IT IN RAP, MAKING NATIVE PEOPLE PROUD. I KNOW SOME PEOPLE WHO DO IT IN CFS, FILM, CONSTRUCTION, ART, DANCE/ WE NEED TO STAND UP AS NATIVE PEOPLE AND START MAKING GOOD NAMES FOR OURSELVES IN ANYTHING WE DO. AND WE NEED TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER NOT BRING EACH OTHER DOWN!!!!! – RESPECT -

    • yess,, i agree, but many youth today are listening to these guys, especially native youth… how many 13,14,15,16,17,18 yr olds in these days, are gunna turn on the radio to listen to chief dan george or ask people about crazy horse, not alot,, plenty WILL turn on their stereos to listen to winnipeg's most…. they are role models, their not trying to "glorify" themselves with their music by tellin about smokin dope n all of that,, they are simply tellin stories and experiences that they've had, because thats what rap is.

  29. As the mother of BROOKLYN in Winnipegs Most ,it just amazes me to read some of these comments.Let me educate some of you on a few things They have worked very hard to have gotten to where they are today. They have all been through hard times and now because of thier music have found a way to express their struggles and hopes and has impacted many who relate to everyday hardship that they themselfs are going through. Isn't that what music is about an expression of art, change ,life etc? They aren't getting over a million hits on you-tube and winning 3 awards , having their pictures taken everywhere, doing articles and showing up im many well known magazines for nothing. Is it me or is the majority of us see what some can't. If you don't like rap / hip hop and don't listen to it , but don't judge either.Ive told my son there will be negitive but never let that stop him . As his mother i'm very proud of his group we are family and i say keep going guys do what you do for yourself and for our youth. You are making a change cause people wouldn't be talking so much about you if you weren't! STAND TALL AND BE PROUD !!! your families and friends and especially your fans are!

    • WELL SAID!!!

    • I so agree with you Lori, but we are family and we know exactly who these guys are and what they've been through, what they're doing now and we witness first hand what that hard work looks like for them. In other words we KNOW them and love them and really at the end of the day thats all that really matters. All the positive people including all the great fans out there are listening to their stories and are identifying or at least appreciating the story telling.

      Keep writing and telling those stories guys and you will always have lots of people who will want to hear them <3

    • maybe if you were a better mother your ruthless son wouldnt show up to high school parties beat up little girls and kids

      • lol wow u musta have been bullied all your life… lol

    • maybe you shoulda raised your son right and he wouldnt be going to high school parties beating up little girls

      • if any one deserves a beating it is you haters!

        • lmao ok mike if anything all these thug wannabes need to be lined up and gunned down publicly i would love to see more than half the north end exterminated

          • Ok, any white race man sitting in st.vital (Winnipeg suburnbs) should not speak as you do… its racism that keeps the hostility and tension in our wiinipeg streets

          • To think they are being judged by an idiot like your self well that in itself does not deserve this comment from me…One of those so called thug's you speak about —– well that is your opion which counts for nothing let alone deserves my feedback is my Son and I am so very very proud of him. I hope they keep it up and I know they will and that hater is going to be a big slap in the face to you…….UMMMMMMMMM last time I checked we lived in Winnipeg not in some other country like China who dictates to their people how to live and if they don't live the way they want them to live they either may be shot or in prison for many many year's so if that is how you think there is alway's a flight out of Winnipeg to one of those country's who would be happy to take you………..

          • O wow I can not believe I just read this which sent shiver's up my spine and actually made my heart hurt to think that there is someone out there with your mentalitly that would shoot someone because they have different view's and way's of expressing themselves……….to think my child would be in harms way by someone like your self…….you talk that they are thugs………….well they may have done a few thing's wrong but they have straightened themselfs out.

  30. youth interpret hopeless stuff as negativity and the kids who really were forced to witness gang life grew out of this stuff, they dont yearn for it when its truly been in their family at a young age its kind of embarrassing for them to hear people glorify it. That's just one opinion though. Pride and self esteem are great things to restore in a peoples culture thats been destroyed so at least these artists making steps. If these artists gonna represent aboriginal culture I think they shouldnt be as negative because traditional aboriginal culture is not about that at all. People need to restore positiveity so if they gonna use race as a crutch they really dont need to give native peoples a bad name further but hey thats my opinion. Now You got the attention of people you really gotta make a positive turn or else youlI just be another martyr of violence cuz the real gangstas gonna come after em for talkin slick and then what…I still appreciate artists who enjoy what they do and make dope music but hope thats the exemplary effect the kids get out of it and they dont follow negative paths

    • well when they were in the gang life, they werent embarrased, because they never grew out of it by then, you dont just wake up and decide that youre going to change the mindset that you've had your whooole life, and thats certainly not the case for these guysz… you could take the boy out the streets, but you cant take the streets out the boy,,, all im saaying is that it takes different people, different amounts of time to "grow up" and these guysz minds are still in the streetsz, but personally i think it makes their music that much better … they got the passion of the streets. haha maan, you aint been nowhere … what real gangstasz.. you? … you couldnt front on winnipeg's most, these homiesz arre gangstasz.. Northside in PegCity, tha murder CAPITAL… only tha strongest survive…. and these guys survived .., soo whutsz that say ? you polly grew up inna sub, where the hardest things to go down was someones daughter kickin kerpals dog,, lmaao.

  31. RACIST PR!CK

  32. DESPITE WHAT ANY BAD COMMENT SAYS ABOUT YOU ON HERE, ALL OF YOU NATIVE RAPPERS MAKE US PROUD!
    KEEP DOING YOUR THING, YOU'RE NOT DOING IT FOR THE HATERS. WE WILL RISE UP AND SHINE, WHO CARES WHAT ANYONE SAYS!!! – WINNIPEG STAND UP!!!!! – XOXOXO -

  33. life on paper is so amusing….soo entertaining even…as goes for any music that should be rated..i don't believe for 1 minute this is healthy music for any of them…albeit, i personally like the tunes…but i'm an adult…these kids don't know when ta change their underwear for craps sake never mind try ta understand the underlying reasons behind a particular song…the kids are listening cuz the parents are listening..gear them up with some bandana's some sign language and their set…yep they the adults these days…Winnipeg's Most keep on bangin..jus not to the kiddies..

  34. Just thought I'd take the initiative to represent for some of the more slept on crews in Winnipeg doing big things!!!

    SWIGFU — "IF IT'S ALRIGHT YA'LL" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtjknkJzZhI

    FILTHY ANIMALS — "THE PLOT" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOoaMkvHP_A

    LEN BOWEN — "BIG DREAMER" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_AiDpzCJGA

    NESTOR WYNRUSH — "HIGH PARK SUNRISE" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ0TC0Pr8QI&sn….

    FILTHY ANIMALS — "BIZNESS AS USUAL" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJl5IjWOiD4

    JOHN SMITH — "KINSHIP OF THE DOWN AND OUT" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jeIRnlOdxM

    KENNY BANG EM feat. GRIZZ — "NO FIRE" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn4Ayk9SZoE

    • JOHN SMITH NIGHT AT REPUBLIC ….. ALS O FRIDAY WITH MY HOMEBOY MCENROE !!! P N C !!!!!

  35. I would love to hear some in Cree!

  36. and you throw back some homophobic comment… come on now

  37. these guys will make it nowhere they go to parties beat up young kids and kick little girls in the head its safe to say these bums will never make it outta the north end

    • itsz hatasz like yuuu that make tha world go round , and make these guys famous, keep on goin dawg, your only makin em known.

  38. My favourite is the woman who called the "old guard of rappers "has beens" or washed up and old and have been living with their mom's and unsuccessful; then spins around and screams how everyone is a hater. wow. there aren't many sensible comments being posted, just alot of vitriol and poor spelling and grammar. What a shameful display. I'm guessing that if anyone were to attempt to have a rational face to face dialogue with the people who are typing with caps on and professing how proud they are, it would end in fisticuffs. I guess that's the hip hop way!!

  39. I don't understand why being a "gangster rapper" is so cool these days? Guys, you grew up in Winnipeg's north end, have you ever been to other cities "ghettos", this is like Disney World in comparison. You act like you've got it so tough, you're given rights and privileges as "indians" that most choose not to do anything with. How about teaching the younger generation of indians to go to school and get jobs instead of glorifying yourself to them as gangsters and thugs, bragging about how much cash you make selling drugs and having sex with multiple women with a no-responsibility "i dont care" attitude towards life? Why do you think indian people are looked down upon in Winnipeg especially, and people are afraid to even go downtown nowadays? It's because so many of these kids growing up on this stuff are growing up and becoming criminals. Monkey see, monkey do mentality. Lets be honest, Winnipeg doesn't exactly have the greatest opportunities, but there is still options and it's sad to see that kids are growing up like this. I'm not saying it's all this groups fault, not at all, but for some reason it seems most young indian kids are turning out like this. If you think my outlook on this matter is so wrong, I challenge you – at the next concert go and ask these people where they work, or if they are in school. I can certainly guarantee you by a landslide they will be unemployed and dropped out. I'm not saying this to be mean, these are just the facts. Being a drug dealer with no education isn't cool, and you are not "role models". There's a fine line between an entertainer and a role model, most people don't seem to know the difference. I enjoy watching Jackass, but would I consider Steve-O a "role model", absolutely not. If you're letting your kids admire these guys and look up to them as role models, you should get your head examined. Would you let these guys babysit your kids? I could go on, but I feel I've made my point.

    • maybe you forgot winnipeg is the murder capital of canada almost 10 years running…. again not per capita ,, thats just flat out more murders than any where else in this country…. statistically showing 84 percent of winnipegs murder's take place in the north end ! fuk any where else's ghetto… what do you know about other cities ghetto's ? let alone our own? retard… oh sorry that politically incorrect…. MORON

      • u really are a retard mike…who cares bout the murder?whats that got to do with being a role model?us older north-enders were here long before morons like u who think they own and control the streets here in this supposed'ly HOOD u rappers use all the time..sorry but its our community not your HOOD…oh wait…u mean u wanna turn it back to a community after makin it a HOOD?..hypocrites

    • Wonderful role models for todays youth. Haha, wow.

    • and people are taking their kids in strollers to these shows? time to call CFS.

    • You should see the music of this person constantly slandering him.

    • so people what have you done for Aboriginal people in Winnipeg lately. It's like voting, if you didn't take the time to vote, you have no right to comment. Maybe if more non white people listen to what Aboriginal people need and want ofmr them our world could get better. ……maybe you should walk a mile in a persons moccasins before you assume you all know how hard it is to succeed as an Aboriginal person. Not that they are off the hook, but it is way harder than people think……how many Aboriginal friends do you judge's have………its time you stop being so ignorant.

  40. we lost the game when they lowered the standards on everything..music politics policing u name it its been affected…Sorry but thats what happens when C average graduates are runnin (or tryin)our lives…Lower the standards a lil more and lets see what bunch of degenerates we can produce for the next generation…this has nuthin ta do with winnipegs most…jus we get what we ask for…or allow.And it certainly didn't jus happen(gangsta) cuz these boys are being recognized no matter what race they are..it happens cuz we let it as a society..these boys are spitters spitting what went on around them,even involved in..but remember,they are storys and we all embelish a lil on our storys,but the main jist of it is what keeps it real… it isn't always what the outside looks like,sometimes u gotta open the book and read it for what it is.Being proud of them cuz some are native is only 1 view of it.I'm proud that they come from the PEG and North-End….and to know their true side…remember a flower buds first before it shows its true beauty…jus don't get stuck on the bud part…or the world of print.

  41. this is a great to[pis ….but to most of us in the struggle and making moves …..it's more than music it's life in general as we see it…..i like the fact that this interview made all these different comments…a great artist told me once if yo have too many YES MEN or YERS FANs agreeing with everytyhing thing you do your not doing your job as an artist…to prevoke such feeling and such hate mean your causing change in that person's mind state…

    i applaude all who are in this interview…

    this is PURE HIP-HOP in it's truest form.

    http://www.facebook.com/hellnback
    http://www.myspace.cpom/hellnbackmusic
    http://www.twitter.com/gunktah

  42. I don’t understand why this writer can sound so knowledable by knowing about WPG MOST in WPGS Hip Hop scene, but yet he can’t include commen sense such as poverty, aboriginal issues, and the obvuious life that comes from that !!!!! And on the flipside how WPG MOST are role modelling that the youth can actually do something if they try ! They support us, because they are real and live our reality and we support them. They bring the community together and reduce gang involvment because everyone is showing up for the same reason WPG MOST, not no gangsta gathering !

  43. What does heatbag mean in Winnipeg? In Edmonton it doesn't mean anything good at all, don't know why you'd name your label that……

    heatbag means you're so not on top of your game and sketchy looking that everyone immediately notices you in public, including cops. For instance, if you're all high on drugs in the mall, or if you're dirty and cracked-out looking in the street. Heatbags are people you want to avoid.

  44. yes big tough guys real role models these guys are isnt it true that brooklyn broke his own moms hand or finger cause she wouldnt give him his gun lmao wow real tough iconic role model for our youth

  45. Heatbag Records? "A heat bag is street slang for someone who scores himself out and gets caught by the police." Very positive.

  46. yeah well it's a rapping about fantasys tale. like a book/ it's music like come on. it's the best i heard yet native rappers is all i listen to like gov't ppl should grow up 4 reals i don't see them trying to change the country 4 better only changes for people overseas and different countries. like they keeping the native out of trouble having shows to go to something that we actually like,also enjoy there are so many friends who are white pardon my spelling and they are friends with natives/aboriginals like don't forget we are all treaty people like it says in the ad in the commercials.

  47. sure they telling a story, a story they live with everyday. Come on! EVERYONE knows these guys are telling their story like its a past situation. They STILL slang drugs, degrade women, promote violence etc. Sure they done some good shows for good things. But that makes them all hypocrites, straight up hypocrites. One second they help raise money for something but they are also the source for their own problems. Its sad macleans even put them in the magazine! I hope they all get caught and go to jail where they belong with the rest of their "bros". They can pretend all they want but everyone knows they are all STILL scum drug dealers!

    • Unless you've grown up beside one of them then and ONLY then can you have an opinion on their moral character. Haters in that city are terrible.

  48. A LOT of people do actually..pay close attention.

  49. lysen be bizan gone lizan for trizan, friken freeken frizen of small sizen, tight and rizen early alright.

  50. I went to their opener for Onyx (true Hip Hop)..I watched Heatbag come on stage with gang colors flashing rags like it was cool…Im very disappointed in the Winnipeg scene…When there are MCees like John SMith and the Peanuts and Corn crew that should represent us…..It is going to become evdent when these guys turn 30 y/o that their music will fade like their standards (kickinglil girls)….pce out hope Winnipeg's Most gets phased out by actual talent…

  51. They make music, they love it, kids love it, people love it….i havent heard of any of these rappers being locked up yet since i have been listening to their music so they gotta be doing SOMETHING RIGHT…IF THEY WERE JAILBIRDS THEY WOULDN’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT MAKING MUSIC..at least youg people can relate to the story their telling!!

  52. To the retards saying winnipeg is ghetto and is the murder capital of canada you got it fucking easy you goofs, for instance New Orleans the murder capital of the usa had 176 murders last year with half the population of winnipeg… wanna know how winnipegs keeping up? 34 murders.. since yall uneducated let me do the math for you… thats 10x the murder rate of winnipeg. quit thinking your badass Yall are posers to the core!!! but hey keep thinking your awesome. ps. im native no racist here.

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