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Cadence Weapon + Hot Chip, May 17th at Wonder Ballroom - Preview

By MATT HANSEN //  Canadian alternative rapper and 2021 Polaris Music Prize winner will open for both nights of Hot Chip in Portland 

As a 2022 collaboration between Cadence Weapon and Hot Chip, the track “The Evil That Men Do” deliciously takes aim at the politicians and tech-billionaires of our time. First, Joe Goddard’s (Hot Chip) serene voice is speaking right to these representatives of our humanity, suggesting they atone for their sins: “Beg for forgiveness, bear witness, be humble.”

Later in the track, Rollie Pemberton (Cadence Weapon) testifies poetically of his own experience living under those to which we entrust our government and economy: “World on fire been hoping for better things. Electing the ones pandering and meddling. Pedal to the metal, then back to backpedaling.” Pemberton’s music is known for its innovative production and socially conscious lyricism that doesn’t completely fall under the conscious hip hop tag. He’s a natural choice to add a dash realism to “The Evil That Men Do” without stifling the danceable flow offered by Hot Chip.

In the current state of hip hop, where styles are becoming lyrically bare and the message sounding more like commercials for luxury items than personal truths, it isn’t hard for Pemberton to set himself apart. On his most recent album Parallel World he addresses this very fact with the chorus, “Vibes like mine hard to find,” on the track “Hard to Find.” But rather than just expound his philosophy through his rhymes, Pemberton’s tracks have an allegory like quality to them, free from misogyny or toxic masculinity, that will keep your head nodding and your mind absorbing new hidden meanings.     

Pemberton has all the charisma of The Roots’ Black Thought with the ability to cut beats at the level of someone like Pharrell. His success as an artist is seemingly the personification of two vibrant music scenes in Ontario, Canada – electronic and hip hop – which has birthed artists topping charts globally like Drake and The Weeknd. But while those two have achieved household name status, Cadence Weapon remains the counterbalance to their careers, the thinking man’s lyricist who eschews celebrity for complete artistic freedom. And many have taken notice: he’s been consistently nominated for the Polaris Music Prize and won for the album Parallel World in 2021.

Tickets to see Cadence Weapon opening for Hot Chip on May 18th at Wonder Ballroom have already sold out, but the tour has added another date the night before with tickets still available. Will this tour paring result in a live version of “The Evil That Men Do,” as Hot Chip and Cadence Weapon unite before your very eyes? Get your tickets for May 17th to find out.

ON TOUR: Cadence Weapon + Hot Chip at Wonder Ballroom on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Doors 7:30PM / Show 8:30PM. (Tickets). 21+ show.

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