Indigenous Hip-Hop

The members of A Tribe Called Red  – photo by Pat Bolduc, Al Jazeera America

Hip-Hop Literary Devices (1 period)

As a class, we will watch War Party’s music video for “Feelin’ Reserved.”  We will use this film and these two worksheets (1,2) as a way to discuss the poetic and musical structure of hip-hop music.

Why Hip-Hop? (1 period)

Essential question: Why is hip-hop such a popular art form among native people?

Rapping as Language Revitalization (1 period)

We focus on Miss Christie Lee, a Vancouver-area artist who raps in the Halkomelem language.

Rap project

we are going to make a rap video, by making our own lyrics and video.


Tracks & Resources

“The Lights Go Out”
Rapsure Risin

Rapsure Risin is a Sto:lo duo from British Columbia.  In “The Lights Go Out,” Carrielynn Victor (Numinous) and Theresa Point (Apt Exact) spend a night in a haunted residential school building.

“Electric Pow-Pow”
A Tribe Called Red

Based in Ottawa, A Tribe Called Red is one of Canada’s hottest electronic/hip-hop groups.  Listen to see why.

“Feelin’ Reserved!”
War Party feat. Flying G.

War Party is a Cree hip-hop group from Alberta.  In “Feelin Reserved!”, Rex & Cynthia Smallboy and Flying G. rhyme about colonialism, cultural losses, social problems, and their determination to make things better for future generations.

Lyrics available on RapGenius

 “La Paix des Braves”
Samian feat. Loco Lacass

Rapping in both French and Algonquian, Samian and Loco Lacass call for a new “Great Peace” between the French and native people in Quebec.

Lyrics available on RapGenius

“Prayer Loop Song”

Supaman is a member of the Apsaalooke nation in Wyoming.  This track is an excellent example of how many indigenous hip-hop artists blend cultures, traditions, and influences to produce innovative work – often with an implicitly political message.

“Rise to the Top”
Vision Quest

Vision Quest is from our very own Whitehorse. This is is a song they wrote as part of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada contest.

Listen on CBC Radio 3

Resources & Further Reading

Beat Nation: Hip-Hop as Indigenous Culture includes mainly Coast Salish artists. includes a wide variety of artists from Canada and the United States.

Teaching poetry through rap lyrics