Edmonton-born Cadence Weapon wins 2021 Polaris Music Prize for Parallel World

Candis Weapon

Roland “Rollie” Pemberton, better known by his stage name Cadence Weapon,  has won Canada’s Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World. The award comes with a cash prize of $50,000 (Canadian) and promotional services for a future release.

The Polaris Music Prize is awarded to the “Best Canadian album of the year based on artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation,” as determined by a Grand Jury of 11 “music media professionals.” The Grand Jury is selected from the Polaris jury pool of 199 Canadian writers, editors, broadcasters, and DJs.

This year marked Cadence Weapon’s third time on the Short List for the prize. And while the rapper is deeply immersed in his music, he is very much attuned and involved in life and the politics around him. So, it was no surprise that the rapper said this while accepting the award:

“If I won this, I wanted to announce that next year I’ll be using some of my resources to organize some voter registration events around the Toronto municipal election, as well as the Ontario provincial election, because we need some changes to our leadership and we need to make things more equitable for people in this city to be able to vote.  I also just want to take this time to mention that Justin Trudeau has worn Blackface so many times he can’t even remember how many times, and he was just given a third term. That’s exactly why I need to be making rap records that are political, that

Candis Weapon

are about these subjects because that’s still a fact today.”

“Finally, this goes out to everybody in Edmonton and Alberta! I’m from Edmonton, 780, we’ve never been here before. I want to show everybody, all the young artists listening right now, and watching this, you don’t have to be from Toronto. Your experience is valuable. Your art matters. Coming from Edmonton, I don’t want you to forget that. The prairies got something to say. E-town.”

Cadence Weapon is the rap moniker of Pitchfork contributor Rollie Pemberton. This year marked Cadence Weapon’s third time on the Short List for the prize. While accepting the award, he said: