Music » Feature

City Natives drop lyrics to inspire

Going from normal life on the reserve to winning awards.

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City Natives w/Quake Matthews, Jay Mayne
Friday, October 21, 11:10pm
Reflections Cabaret, 5187 Salter Street
$15

Since playing Halifax Pop Explosion in 2014, City Natives released a pair of albums and won e East Coast Music and Indigenous Music Awards, and this summer toured the Maritimes with A Tribe Called Red. The hip-hop collective of Illfundz (Brandon Arnold), Bne (Blake Francis), Beaatz (Shelby Sappier) and Gearl (Gearl Francis) has refined its live performance, but still bring the old-school hip-hop ruckus.

"We talk about our lives and how it changed from being the kid on the reserve that's just making music and wants to get to heard, to making music, getting heard and winning awards," says Illfundz. "It talks about the transition from our normal life to what we are now."

City Natives released its fourth album, Nomadic, this month. The members continue to make music in the high-energy classic hip-hop vein, but aren't afraid to experiment and slow it down on songs like "What's Mine." The lyrics still carry weight as they spit lines about expectations, assumptions and the realities of life on reserves. The four members come together to make music but live separately in Tobique First Nation and Eel Ground First Nation in New Brunswick and Eskasoni.

"We want to inspire young kids on the reserve to get up and get out and do something on their own," says Illfundz. "That's why we put that stuff in our music, so kids can hear it and be inspired."

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