Cadence Weapon
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Cadence Weapon

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | MAJOR | AFM

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | MAJOR | AFM
Band Hip Hop EDM




"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

* Type: Album
* Release date: 04/03/2008
* Label: Big Dada

Let’s just take a second to be honest here – it isn’t often that Canada produces anything worthwhile.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the place; the people are some of the friendliest in the world, the country is beautifully picturesque and pure, and if you go to Montreal in the winter you’ll be fortunate enough to try poutine, a culinary sensation which will warm you straight to your bones, while completely altering the way you ever thought about chips, gravy and curdled cheese.

But in all fairness, while Canada’s got Aids Wolf, Holy Fuck, Cryptopsy (and let’s not forget the Bachman Turner Overdrive), they’ve also got Nickelback. In spades. And not much hip-hop that’s worth mentioning (feel free to check out my review on Canadian rapper soso).

Well, forget everything you ever knew about Canadian music and say hello to Cadence Weapon, 21-year-old DJ, MC and producer, whose new record Afterparty Babies is just so, so, so good. It’s raising the bar on modern rap music in a way that this reviewer thinks is completely unique.

In order to understand this record, you gotta get the underlying message and inspiration for the LP: Cadence Weapon (real name Rollie Pemberton) is a self-confessed “afterparty baby” – in essence, an accident. While most people would try their very hardest to avoid this truth, Cadence celebrates his conception, and uses it as the underlying motivational drive for the entire LP, reaching out to all the other afterparty babies of the world; in Weapon’s own words: “This one goes out to all the accidents… Keep on making mistakes”.

But it’s not just the amiable sentiment behind Cadence’s record that makes it so distinctive; this rapper’s managed to tap into that grey area in hip-hop which leaves people rubbing their foreheads in confusion. To clarify: everybody expects certain things from genres of music, and rap in particular seems to suffer time and time again from people creating clichés around the music that it truly does not deserve. You know the ones – booty, bass, thug, G, pimp, et cetera. But once in a while, an artist emerges out of a regional hip-hop scene that manages to bypass popular pre-conceived perceptions on hip-hop with such ease and grace that it leaves the usually dubious listener entirely captivated (and somewhat distraught).

‘Do I Miss My Friends?’ opens Afterparty Babies with a single solitary hummed vocal melody, gradually progressing into a chanted and rhythmic chorus, accompanied by Weapon’s prose-like and conversational-in-delivery style of rap – and literally sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard. As I’m listening, I feel like I’m involved in a discussion with an old friend, and not just any old friend, but someone I grew up with who has an angle that I both love and hate: Unlike my new ‘cool’ friends, this person knows me for who I really am – the fat kid in 6th grade who ate his own boogers and stole cookie dough from the school cafeteria. And he can expose me at any time.

But as the album progresses, you begin to feel more comfortable that your new friend Cadence Weapon is in the same boat with you; he has cool new friends in big cities, and therefore he has to impress them and make them dance with disco-break-beat numbers like single ‘In Search of the Youth Crew’ and self-explanatory ‘House Music’. His words on ‘Messages Matter’ are utterly innovative – “when I spit, the words say glisten, ‘cause where I’m from, all the birds stay and listen” claims Cadence, only to follow with “… now what the fuck is that supposed to mean?”. Not only is this rapper extraordinarily gifted, he’s also completely honest and manages to say more with his seemingly stream of consciousness style lyrics than the ever-scripted Guru, of Gang Starr fame.

Musically, so much is going on here. Influences of all kinds bombard you from song to song: Prefuse 73-esque glitch-hop stylings on ‘Limited Edition OJ Slammer’; IDM-tinged, noisy thumping in the style of Autechre number ‘Tattoos (And What They Really Look Like)’; and even a radio-friendly summer jam, ‘Real Estate’, which should have Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West cupping their balls in fear. Yet the element of the music which is so important, and so different on Afterparty Babies, is that the beat behind all the songs doesn’t seem so important to Weapon’s music, but rather the sounds which surround those beats and the complex, swirling melodies that they create. I mean, I love beats – fat ones, thick ones, TR-808 kicks – but it’s nice to be confronted with a hip-hop album that isn’t too concerned with how heavy the beats are on it.

Honestly, I’ve re-written this review like 98 times because Cadence Weapon, and Afterparty Babies, is just too good. I can’t do it justice. It’s just brilliant. Nothing I can write will change that. I’ll just stop here.

…And Mike Diver is gonna kick my ass if he doesn’t have this review soon.

* Cad - Downed In Sound

"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

Cadence Weapon, Afterparty Babies

**** (Big Dada)

Dorian Lynskey
Friday February 22, 2008
The Guardian

Cadence Weapon, Afterparty Babies
Buy Afterparty Babes now

Hip-hop's sacred dictum, "keep it real", is easier to follow if you're a former crack dealer from Baltimore than an erstwhile journalist and techno fan from Alberta, Canada, but Rollie "Cadence Weapon" Pemberton's second album owes much of its charm to his confidence to be exactly who he is. Inspired by a summer hanging out in Edmonton, Afterparty Babies examines heartbreak, parties and try-hard hipsters to a frantic soundtrack of unpredictable techno collages that could slot into a DJ set by Basement Jaxx or Justice. Although he drops references to Ian Curtis and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and playfully rhymes the Wire (magazine) with The Wire (TV show), Pemberton doesn't strain to impress. He doesn't need to: his darting intelligence and racing imagination are evident in every line.
- Guardian UK

"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

4.0 stars
Cadence Weapon
Afterparty Babies
Writer: Mosi Reeves
Review, Published online on 05 Mar 2008

On Cadence Weapon’s second album, Afterparty Babies, the 22-year-old Canadian rapper and producer (born Rollie Pemberton) mixes sharp, smart lyrics with nimble dance tracks. His vocals sound half-submerged amidst the pounding beats, like someone shouting over the din of a raging party. On “Do I Miss My Friends?” he raps over a beat built solely from Bobby McFerrin-like vocal percussion. Many of the cuts, such as “Limited Edition OJ Slammer,” use 8-bit video game sounds; others, like “House Music,” appropriate Baltimore booty bass.

Cadence’s unique production skills make for hip-hop songs that sound like no other. But unlike “club rap” contemporaries such as the Cool Kids and Kid Sister, he demonstrates a exudes a certain restless intelligence. For “Messages Matter,” he mocks hipster clichés, noting “I don’t respond to emoticons of emotion.” And on “Juliann Wilding,” he opens a portrait of a party girl by asking, “Have you ever done coke off a book?/ It ain’t the Bible, but it will have to do.”

As a knowing send-up of youth culture, Afterparty Babies can be both funny and obnoxious. The beats are so chaotic and loud that they take some getting used to. Don't wait for Cadence Weapon to slow down, though. As he says on "In Search of the Youth Crew," he's too busy sneaking into the club so he can both parody that lifestyle and enjoy it with his friends.
- Paste

"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

Cadence Weapon, Afterparty Babies (Big Dada)
4 stars

Straight out of Edmonton, Alberta, fast-talking MC Rollie Pemberton's impeccable second album confirms that the history of Canadian electro did not end with Neil Young's Trans. Blending ebullient verbosity with the brightest selection of electronic beats you'll hear this side of a Santogold ringtone selection, Afterparty Babies translates its author's personal history (his Brooklyn-born father was one of the first DJs to play Afrika Bambaataa in Canada) into a universal message. 'My dad said I was an after-party baby; this goes out to all the accidents out there; keep on making mistakes.' Ben Thompson - Observer Music Monthly

"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

Review by Marisa Brown

Freshly signed to the Anti- label, Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon (or Rollie Pemberton) continues -- with his flat intonation and half-mocking confidence -- to help redefine the boundaries of modern hip-hop, something he began on his very excellent debut. But while Breaking Kayfabe was all heavy beats and grime, Afterparty Babies turns more to the fringes of house and tech-house, even going so far as to title a song "House Music." For the most part, these new production additions work well, although sometimes the inherent corniness of the club instruments pushes the rapper's already tongue-in-cheek lyrics (which are normally a strength of his songs) to near silliness. Not that Pemberton is trying to be serious; in fact, he's assuredly aware of how he comes off, but the synths in "Getting Dumb," for example, played under the slowly rhymed hook of "Where'd you go, I'm always here/Whatever you need, I'm always near/And I know you are losing touch/And I know you are getting dumb," are more tiresome than ironic or sardonic. Fortunately, these moments are in the minority, and the rest of Afterparty Babies flows with equal parts self-deprecation, wit, and insight. Cadence Weapon is the kind of MC who's able to present accessible rhymes that also, upon further listening, reveal themselves to be much more. On "Messages Matter," which has the most "standard" hip-hop beat on the entire album, he uses chopped-up soul samples and violins alongside his normal electronics, and comments on the state of the technology-driven social relationships and forms of communication that he sees replacing the human-to-human ones. "And people, they don't laugh anymore, they use acronyms to make their opinions known/This is why I might stay home for the next couple weeks, and retreat to my form of Beats, Rhymes and Life," he spits, only later to go on about girls he's met on the Internet. It's this ability to make fun of society through making fun of himself that makes Cadence Weapon so likable; he boasts and he swaggers but it's done with a sly smile and plenty of pop culture references, as if he knows you know everything he says has to be taken with a grain of salt. Afterparty Babies is hipster rap that isn't trying too hard to be hip (instead of bragging about living in Brooklyn, for example, he asks why all his friends have moved from Edmonton), smart hip-hop that isn't pretentious or condescending, genre-bending music that knows a good beat is universal, an album that accepts its imperfections as a part of its charm, and, all things considered, a pretty irresistible release. - Allmusic Guide

"Cadence Weapon "Afterparty Babies""

Cadence Weapon
Afterparty Babies
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Reviewed by Sean O'Neal
March 4th, 2008
"In Search Of The Youth Crew" by Cadence Weapon

Rapping is easier with guns and drugs, so give credit to Cadence Weapon's 2005 breakout Breaking Kayfabe for proving that a former Pitchfork scribe with a Nintendo fetish—and a Canadian, no less—could make something as just captivating without either. Yet for all of its admirable idiosyncrasies, Kayfabe felt slightly detached; on his techno-flavored follow-up, Afterparty Babies, Cadence Weapon (a.k.a. Rollie Pemberton) lets his guard down, spinning stories of friends left behind and failed relationships that are personal enough to hit universally. Between bouts of self-reflection and ripping on hipsters who try too hard, Pemberton flashes his own indie cred with references to Ian Curtis, Marc Bolan, and The Wire, but somehow it never feels like posturing—it helps that he's got a sense of humor, whether dropping a Kindergarten Cop sample ("Messages Matter"), making a pog reference ("Limited Edition OJ Slammer"), or pumping up the meta jams ("House Music"). Throughout, Pemberton comes off like a clever friend who just happens to be lyrically gifted: He's the perfect hip-hop hero for the MySpace age.

A.V. Club Rating: B
- Onion AV Club


New Album Hope In Dirt City
Upper Class Recordings

Afterparty Babies (2008 Upper Class/Epitaph/Big Dada)
Breaking Kayfabe (2006 Upper Class/Big Dada)
...Is The Black Hand (2005 Self Released)

"Separation Anxiety" (2009 Self-Released)
"TRON LEGACY: The Mixtape" (2010 Self-Released)

Disco D "Hug It Out Bitch"
Lady Sovereign "Blah Blah Blah"
Kid Sister "Damn Girl"
Sally Shapiro "He Keeps Me Alive"
Camoflage Nights "It Could Be Love"
Shout Out Out Out Out "Your Shitty Record Won't Mix Itself"
Super Extra Bonus Party "Everything Flows"
Faunts "20:40"
Wet Secrets "The Chinball Wizard"
Rick Ross vs Simian Mobile Disco "Hustlin' Hustler"
Architecture In Helsinki "Debbie"
Grimes "Crystal Ball"
Diamond Rings "Something Else"
+ more



Cadence Weapon continues to firmly establish his legacy as a sonic pioneer while constantly pushing the rap and electronic music envelope. Following his critically-acclaimed, Polaris Music Prize nominated albums Breaking Kayfabe and Afterparty Babies and a two year term as Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, he returns with his new album Hope In Dirt City this Spring. A clearly defined and emotionally mature statement of intent, Hope In Dirt City represents the culmination of these experiences. Composed of a unique hybrid of psychedelic soul, old school rap, IDM and mutant disco, Hope In Dirt City is a groundbreaking achievement in hip-hop. Cadence Weapon has returned to bring rap back to its essence.