Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
At some point in a life, a person begins to get accustomed to everything. There's less whining and belly-aching about inequity and all of the other things that just don't seem to be right, just because they're on the wrong side of the equation. It doesn't have to mean that a white flag gets thrown up and waved in the closest breeze, but it does mean that a person's gotten older and they've been worn down appropriately to a point where the kicking and the bucking does not pay off as well as it seems like it used to. Even that previous effect of the kicking and bucking is likely nothing more than a perspective, probably a skewed one.
Rollie Pemberton, the Edmonton-bred and Montreal-dwelling rapper who performs as Cadence Weapon, has grown into the man he is on his latest album, "Hope In Dirt City." It's a place that still allows for occasional benders and throwing illegal after hours loft parties that the Canadian cops hate, but it's more a place for that seasoned veteran of the ups and the downs that knock you around in your 20s before you make your way to the other side of them. It's then when more things come into focus and for Pemberton, this seems to be the case as well, as his exuberance has been funneled into the makings of a mostly distinguished gentleman who will only occasionally defy noise curfews as everyone around drinks into the morning hours.
Pemberton's lyrics are still youthful, still mostly playful, but they're moving toward being more settled, considering the greater picture. He still blacks out when he makes his mistakes, making you think that he's not learning any lessons, but then he proves that he listens to good advice when we hear him say, "Let me throw some metal round your neck horseshoe style/You know, my dad, he told me one day, if you don't find the right one, you'll spend your life having to fight one," on the song, "Cheval." It's a moment of real maturity. It's a moment that his father might hear and think, "Wow, the boy was listening. I had no idea he heard any of that." The tips and the emphasized points have now begun to take effect on someone understanding that even these loft party nights might not be lasting for that much longer. Something's about to give - maybe not immediately, but sooner than one might think. He raps, "I live in bad condition, but, I've got my conditioning," suggesting that he's willing to put himself in the same questionable positions, but he's starting to really know how things are going to be in due time.