Song of the Day: A Tribe Called Red – Virus

A Tribe Called Red

photo by Falling Tree Photography

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription.  This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear.  Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole is “Virus” by A Tribe Called Red from their 2016 album, We are the Halluci Nation, on Radicalized Records.

A Tribe Called Red – Virus (featuring Saul Williams & Chippewa Travellers) (MP3)A Tribe Called Red hail from Ottawa, Canada, and they create a unique blend of hip-hop, electronic and First Nations music which has been dubbed “powwow-step”. On their track “Virus”, they perfectly match Saul Williams’ unique vocal stylings with indigenous chants. As the politically motivated lyrics merge with the synthesis of different genres one can sense a deep liberation, rage and intelligence. This is the farthest thing from passive music.

It’s easy to expect that we will be hearing a lot of protest songs in the near future considering the current national mood. A Tribe Called Red has been doing their own activism through sound and live performance for a while now. Saul Williams has also been associated with political, racial and class issues for years. What may be most surprising is how catchy “Virus” manages to be while also creating awareness in the listener.

A Tribe Called Red’s performances include aspects of party, social protest, safe spaces for all identities and traditional native dance. They will be performing in Seattle this Wednesday, November 16th, at The Crocodile for those of you that want to get the full experience. Find out more on their website and Facebook page. For now, here’s their latest video, for “R.E.D.”, featuring Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Iraqi Canadian MC Narcy & Black Bear:

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