Snotty Nose Rez Kids' Best Live Performances

From full concerts to intimate sessions, there's nothing like the Rez Kids in person
Snotty Nose Rez Kids' Best Live Performances
Photo: Adam Hefferman
With live shows finally returning, newly minted Exclaim! cover stars Snotty Nose Rez Kids are able to bring their ferocious live shows back to their ever-growing legion of fans. A typical SRNK set is jam-packed with bangers — now including, presumably, high-energy tracks from their recently released fourth album, Life After — and features plenty of crowdwork. Before the duo's first Canadian show since 2020 takes place in Vancouver on December 30 (with a full North American tour to come in 2022), take a trip down memory lane for five of their most memorable live performances.

Polaris Music Prize Gala 2018
Toronto, ON
September 17, 2018

In 2018, Snotty Nose Rez Kids were well on their way to become the Canadian rap heroes they are today, but they still felt like upstarts who hadn't fully gotten their due. That began to change when their album The Average Savage was short listed for the Polaris Music Prize — and their performance at that year's gala left a big impression on those who weren't already familiar with them.

Starting with an ominous voiceover and dim red lighting, the low-key intro makes the ensuing performance all the more explosive by contrast, as Young D and Yung Trybez are flanked by backup dancers while growling "Savages" from behind masks. After removing their masks, they lighten the mood — but only slightly — for the classic hip-hop swagger of "H.O.W." featuring a guest hook from Salia Joseph.

House of Strombo with Jeremy Dutcher and Partner
Toronto, ON
September 19, 2018

The day after showing the Polaris gala what they're all about, the Rez Kids took to the House of Strombo to showcase a different side of their live set. Taking place as a cipher between Snotty Nose Rez Kids, neoclassical composer Jeremy Dutcher — who won the Polaris Music Prize the night before — and classic rock duo Partner, the three acts shared the spotlight, with each taking the lead for a song or two. For the Rez Kids' two numbers — "Dead Chiefs" from their 2017 self-titled debut album and a feel-good, unreleased track driven by a call-and-response hook of "When I say 'braided,' y'all say 'faded'" — they were joined by Dutcher on keys and Partner co-leads Josée Caron and Lucy Niles on guitar and bass, respectively. Even though D and Trybez uncharacteristically sit and stand in place, their rhymes are just as captivating and heavy, with the drama punched up with Dutcher's thunderous piano chords and glissandos and a ripping guitar solo from Caron paying tribute to the Rez Kids' rock influence.

CBC Music First Play Live
Vancouver, BC
Spring 2019

This is the best way to experience SNRK: no stage, with the rappers performing while surrounded by the crowd. The Average Savage's "M.I.n.a.Y." is on the darker, moodier side of the duo's catalogue — so rather than feverish catharsis, they drop thoughtful lyrics over a mellow, head-nodding beat in this First Play Live performance for CBC Music. Then again, it's not too laid back, as the Rez Kids lead the crowd in a chant of the title (which translates as "brother" and refers to the duo's philosophy of unity). Kudos to the people behind the cameras for getting right in the fray and capturing the feeling of being face-to-face with the group.

Polaris Music Prize Gala 2019
Toronto, ON
September 19, 2019

After their stunning performance in 2018, lightning struck twice for the Rez Kids when they were short-listed for the Polaris Prize again and returned to the gala for another another explosive medley. Tearing into a string of tracks from that year's TRAPLINE like "Savage Mob" and "Lost Tribe," SNRK have an almost metal-inspired energy as they scream and spit lyrics.

Turning the gala into their very own club show, Yung Trybez even hops off the stage for some shout-along crown participation. With a confetti cannon and blaring airhorns, this performance shows the duo's incredible talent for establishing a party atmosphere without compromising their message.

AXE Music One Night Only
Vancouver, BC
March 11, 2020

Days before the pandemic would fully take hold on all aspects of life, Snotty Nose Rez Kids delivered a performance so astonishing, it's as if they knew it would be their last one for quite some time. It features all of their trademarks — performing in the centre of the crowd with plenty of calls-and-response — but taken to the next level for the devoted hometown crowd: recordings of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Chop Suey" pay tribute to the duo's wide-ranging influences, and a guest appearance by Haviah Mighty — who performed earlier that night — showcased that the new class of rappers is here to stay.