​Snotty Nose Rez Kids Perfect Their "Indigenous Trap" on New Album 'Trapline'

​Snotty Nose Rez Kids Perfect Their "Indigenous Trap" on New Album 'Trapline'
Photo: Marc de Vinci
Snotty Nose Rez Kids have just released their new album, Trapline.

It is, in their words, an attempt at incorporating the ideas they grew up with in their Kitimat, BC Haisla reservation with the trap sound we've all come to identify with that Atlanta wave — a style the duo call "Indigenous Trap." It's a deft blend of their 2017 releases (one self-titled and the other Average Savage) while still clearly progressing as artists. Darren "Young D" Metz and Quentin "Yung Trybez" Nyce are in control of their own wave.
 
Their 2017 releases propelled them to the national stage and nearly won them a Polaris Prize. Though they lost to Jeremy Dutcher, the duo said the diversity of Dutcher's music and their own shows how diverse Indigeneity is in Canada, and that the outcome had a pronounced effect on the release that was to become Trapline. They had to double down on celebrating their community first.
 
"To make an album like this, and pay homage to the land we come from, we also need to pay homage to our community," says Yung Trybez in an Exclaim! interview. "If you think about our lives, we were raised by a community. We weren't raised by just a single household."
 
So, the duo abandoned the album that never was — Rez Bangers and Koolapops, which was slated for the end of 2018 and was brighter, too airy, less responsible to its community —  in order to embrace a sound they would eventually do better than anyone else.
 
Early on, says Trybez, "D and I had a lot of conversations about it, and we wanted to make music people could hear far and wide, not just in the Indigenous community. So we were thinking of Rez Bangers and Koolapops, a dope, like, summer album where people listen to it far and wide. [Then,] we ended up coming to the conclusion that we couldn't get too far away from politics, because that's who we are. We can't not talk about the land, we can't not talk about our identity; that's who we are. We can't just put music out, we gotta do it right."
 
Over 18 tracks (with five skits), Trapline embraces righteous anger while also bringing the story of Indigeneity into the mainstream, something that's happening slowly but surely. Just as the due intended, Trapline listeners will come away with knowledge they might not have possessed before.
 
On a positive tip, the duo rap on "Lost Tribes" about "lifting spirits," like "Hercules," but they're also quick to call out non-Indigenous people for our weird relationship with Indigenous people, like when later on in the same song — the album's best example of blending a great sound with meaning — they rap, "Not to burst your bubble, baby, but Halloween is the only time you want to be me." Trapline has much to say; they want to create a new narrative for us to be able to heal the wounds scored by colonialism. Anyone can see the issue with Trudeau promising a future of both pipelines and carbon pricing. Their "Fuck Justin Trudeau" chant last year was meant to show this very thing.
 
The skits peppered through the album suffuse the album with the thematic stories and ideas, but never feel like impediments to the music or the album's flow. The speakers, too, are drawn from the duo's lives — "Wa wais" is spoken by Yung Trybez's mother, and Young D's Grandma speaks on "Granny Kay."
 
Musically, they're steadily in line with the new generation of rap. "Crazy," for example, sounds like a mashup of "Fuck Up Some Commas" and something from Jazz Cartier's Hotel Paranoia.
 
With Trapline, Snotty Nose Rez Kids have made a project that exists as both an interesting and thought-provoking piece of music that pushes you out of comfort zone so fully that you realize how asinine the borders of that zone were in the first place.
 
"We don't just want to make sounds that will be forgotten in five years," say Yung Trybez. "We want to make history."
 
With Trapline, it feels like they've done that.