My name is Rollie Pemberton and I make music as Cadence Weapon. I was named the third poet laureate of my hometown of Edmonton in 2009. I won the 2021 Polaris Prize for my album Parallel World. My writing has been published in Pitchfork, The Guardian, Wired, The Globe and Mail and Hazlitt. My memoir Bedroom Rapper: Cadence Weapon on Hip-Hop, Resistance and Surviving the Music Industry was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2022.
When I started this newsletter in 2020, I set out to create something that was more than just a way to update folks about my tour dates and releases. I wanted to return to the feeling of my music blog from the early 2000s. I wanted to write about music in a way that wasn’t about maximizing engagement or going viral.
In today’s increasingly fraught online environment, social media companies use the algorithm to gatekeep access to our own fans from us. It became important for me to find a way to directly communicate with my audience on my own terms and I believe that I’ve found that outlet with this newsletter.
I’ve written about my methods for finding new music, what I learned from the exploitative record deal I signed as a teenager, what it’s like to tour in the pandemic era, how to define success as an artist, navigating the age of the playlist curator, whether band shirts are still cool, the impact of gentrification on the creative process, and more.
If you decide to become a paid subscriber, you’ll get subscriber-only posts, access to the full archive, a monthly music recommendation roundup with an exclusive playlist and I’ll deconstruct my process by sharing unreleased demos and writing about them.
With this newsletter, I want to cultivate a slower, more thoughtful online experience that is as removed from the attention economy as possible. If this sounds good to you, I hope you’ll join me.