By Armand LaPlante
The setting is a loft on a warm night in Los Angeles, story California on a lively night in May. MC RedCloud and Crystle Lightning, viagra the pair that make up eclectic, house, hiphop duo LightningCloud, are filming a new music video in front of a large green screen. The differing music styles of RedCloud and Crystle complement each other so well in this fresh new group; they have been referred to as the Red version of Bonnie & Clyde. During a short break at the video shoot I got to talk to MC RedCloud for a few minutes.
Armand: What is your video about that we’re shooting here right now?
RedCloud: It’s a fun song called Gravitron, me and Crystle [Lightning] wrote this track for the album. It’s a fire track and we always wanted to shoot a video for it and the homie Mitch Paulson came through with a cool, sick concept to do a green screen and make it look crispy. It’s just a really fun track, a lot of bright colours, a lot of fun.
Congratulations on winning Power 106’s “Who’s Next?” contest; that is huge! Tell us a little bit about that.
1600 artists in Los Angeles fought for the spot of “Who’s Next?” Battle of the Best and we beat everybody in LA. We then went on to beat the New York City winner, this cat named Radamiz, we took him out (in Austin Texas)– destroyed him. We won $10,000, 12 hours of studio time, and a beat from the producer Timbaland.
Timbaland is world famous. It must be an exciting time in your career.
It’s a dream come true. Working with Timbaland is going to be something that we really needed as break-thru artists and being brand new; this is the beginning of something beautiful. And what’s cool is that we get to work with Timbaland right now while he’s hot. He’s really hot right now with the new Justin Timberlake album that’s all over the world and topping the charts. Working with him right now is insane; we have the beat from him and we’re writing to it right now. It’s going to be amazing.
This past year you Crystle Lightning came out with a new album called LightningCloud and it won best rap/hiphop album at the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards (APCMAs) in Winnipeg. The album had a new sound for you compared to your past work. What were you hoping listeners would sense when listening to the new album?
You know, people evolve, they move on, and they grow up. As a youngster I was a cold-blooded rapper – I still am – but as you get older your movements change and you grow up and mature. When I linked up with Crystle it was a mixture with her style which is a very electronic house vibe. It’s a marriage of two styles and that worked immediately and you see the results immediately. Stuff I couldn’t get done by myself for many years were done instantly with Crystle and Dj Hydroe on the scene.
This new LightningCloud is a whole new sound, a whole new movement, it’s really dope. And it won the best hiphop album of the year at the APCMAs ; that’s what set it off. We are super stoked; we didn’t think a little group from LA would be able to beat these groups that are from Winnipeg or from Canada. So it shows that the people speak.
How does being Aboriginal influence your music?
It’s always there, but people like me or like Joey Stylez who have found a pocket of success don’t necessarily have to cater our music specifically to Aboriginals. But being Aboriginal and being able to knock out some hits and being able to hang with the heavy hitters of other descents, that’s amazing. Being able to chart on top and having your people behind you, that’s automatic — always having your people rooting for you.
That’s what Crytsle and I are working on; like once you start kicking ass in LA you see that your people have your back no matter what. It goes to show no matter where you go that’s the key to success. Being Aboriginal means that you’re original, you’re the first copy and what we make is the first of everything. Natives out there shouldn’t be trying to pursue being the native version of 50 Cent or the native version of Eminem, or the Aboriginal version of Waka Flocka; we are the originators, we are the first people so everything we do needs to be the First, we need to bring it back to that, and we’ve got a good team over here doing that: 1491.
Got any words of advice for the urban and on-reserve youth grabbing microphones and trying to get in the rap game?
There’s no better time in the world than right now to follow your dreams and to chase them down. Right now the tallest basketball player is a Chinese guy, the sickest golfer is a black guy, and one of the sickest rappers is a white guy. If you’re Aboriginal, there is no better time in the world than right now to blow up because everyone is getting a piece right now.
So to my youth and to my natives, no matter where you are in the world right now ?? in the middle of nowhere ?? there are outlets, there are pockets for success, there are ways to get your music out and there are ways to follow your dreams. Don’t let anything that you are hold you back, that is no longer an excuse. It’s 2013. If you’re dope you’re dope! Period.
Memories from NAIG Regina July 2014, no rx all photos by Armand LaPlante
The Lance Run by Armand LaPlante
The Lance Run signified the countdown to the highly anticipated 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) that were held in Regina.
The 10 youth runners of the Lance made their way from Prince Albert, through Batoche, and on to Saskatoon ending up at the Wanuskewin heritage park where they were welcomed with an afternoon of cultural celebration and honouring ceremonies.
Dignitaries on hand included FSIN Vice Chiefs Dutch Lerat and Kim Jonathan, STC Vice Chief Mark Arcand, MLTC Vice Chief Dwayne Lasas, Métis Nation Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette, and Monica Goulet.
The community took this time to honour the Lance runners, chosen from among the NAIG Team Saskatchewan athletes. The Lance will made its way around the province through the treaty territories until it reached the opening ceremonies in Regina on July 20th, 2014.
Past team Saskatchewan athletes of the games were pleasantly surprised when they were each honored with a Team Sask pin salvaged from the 1993 North American Indigenous Games that were held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Only 25 pins remained of the original 7500 that were made in 1993.
It was a beautiful afternoon with speakers and cultural celebration including Métis fiddling and jigging from the Northern Prairies Dancers, and a Pow Wow dance presentation with well-known dancers from around our communities.
The Lance Run is spiritually and culturally significant; hundreds of years ago messages were often passed between territories by runners. Adhering to traditional protocol, the day started out with prayer and the Lance and runners were smudged before entering the sacred, traditional lands of Wanuskewin.
High Intensity at U19 Basketball Finals at NAIG 2014 by Armand LaPlante
The basketball finals drew quite the intensity from the teams and spectators at the North American Indigenous Games in Regina, July 2014.
U19 Girls Basketball Final
Ontario kept a marginal lead over Manitoba that the team in yellow just couldn’t catch. Ontario showed great ball movement and were able to create quite a few breakaways that kept their lead strong. Despite Manitoba trailing leading late into the 4th, they showed no signs of slowing down; they played fast and physical. Ontario’s players showed that they can execute that left drive well and kept their far lead finishing the game for the Gold Medal: 63 ONT – 49 MB. Both teams played very well and both can return home feeling very proud of themselves.
U19 Boys Basketball Final
Despite Team BC staying at least 10 points ahead of Team Wisconsin throughout the entire game, it was one helluva game. Team BC had a strong defense keeping Wisconsin out of the paint for much of the game forcing Wisconsin to shoot from the outside. The game could’ve unfolded differently had those outside shots been hitting, but some nights all you get are bricks.
The game was very physical, and when Wisconsin had momentum building it was the fouls that would throw a wrench in it. There was no slowing down from the players, or the spectators for that matter. The game was fast, loud, and very fun to watch.
Final score was 88 BC – 71 Wisconsin.