Once Upon Us (N8 Winishut and Benjamin Tolman) started making music together after many long days deployed in Iraq talking about making a new style of hip hop.
N8 has won 2 music awards for his solo work on his cd “Wasted Talent” and has worked for years with the “Rezhogs”.
Benjamin has been playing the guitar in local bands and as a hobby for around 6 years now and has been into all different types of music his entire life. After experimenting for long hours and days Once Upon Us has come out with thier own distinct style of music.
You can also download five of their tracks from their upcoming album ‘Cosmos’ right here, and view a video they put together for another song from Cosmos ‘When You’re Not Around’.
Lorenzo is an Anishinaabe MC from the Little Saskatchewan First Nation located in Interlake Region of Manitoba.
His music is best described as a fusion of Hip-Hop and Rhythm & Blues. His lyrics are both intricate and honest. Combined with his heart, message and raspy flow Lorenzo’s lyrics allow his style to be enjoyed by people who typically “aren’t into rap”.
Lorenzo provides perspective from a voice often unheard and over-looked in the traditional music communities. Truthful, insightful, and providing a new sound straight from the Rezzy: Lorenzo is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
Get some of Lorenzo’s mp3s available free for download to bump in your ride from our Mp3 Downloads section.
Hailing from the “Nasty North” backed by the power of the street’s support and strong ties to his First Nation roots, this young rapper has created a versatile sound which has coined him the name “Joey Stylez”. With the strength of his independently shot music videos and string of street-released albums and mixtapes, he has been making global noise; building a massive fan base along the way.
His energetic and stand-out live show has landed him on stage with some of today’s hottest acts. He has graced the stage with platinum recording artists 50 Cent, G Unit, Snoop Dogg, Lloyd Banks, Dogg Pound and Too Short, to name a few. With a combined 800,000 video plays on YouTube, he was featured in June 2007 mega hip hop magazine XXL. His latest video “Living Proof” reached #4 on Much Music’s Rap City.
His upcoming debut album will be titled ‘The Blackstar’ which is named after his traditional Plains Cree grandmother. To him it represents the survival and strength in which she has instilled in him. Check out the YouTube videos below…
Eekwol is a member of Muskoday First Nation. She has a BA(Hons) in Indigenous Studies from the First Nations University of Canada and University of Saskatchewan which she has taken along with her many years of dedication to hip hop and created something unique and astounding to give back to the community. With a strong drive to promote her Hip Hop and Indigenous cultures, she is currently one of the main artists of the independent label, Mils Productions, which she co-owns with her producer/brother, Mils. Through their original music they display their activist roots by living and creating as supporters of both Hip Hop and Indigenous culture and rights.
2009 EekwolThe Cree EP. Produced by various artists. (to be released February 2009)
2007 – Eekwol and MilsThe List full-length. Produced by Mils (released September 2007)
2005 Eekwol Apprentice to The Mystery full-length. Produced by Mils, it also features Marc Longjohn, a talented Saskatchewan roundance/powwow singer and recent winner of a 2004 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Roundance Album.
2002 Eekwol – Soundsick?! EP. Her creativity has drawn groundbreaking artists from abroad to collaborate with on this album, including a guest appearance by PSC.Luckyiam from Los Angeles.
2001 Innersoulflow The Best Kept Secret full-length Eekwol is a part of the hip hop crew Innersoulflow, a collective consisting of members from First Nations around Saskatchewan.
2001 Frequent Flyers – Frequent Flyers of a Higher Science full-length â€“ Eekwol and members of Innersoulflow.
1999 Innersoulflow – Innersoulflow EP
Through her career Eekwol has been asked to be featured on countless compilations including the ‘Dig Your Roots’ Aboriginal Music Compilation, Japanese hip hop compilation, Laugh and Cry, Mils and Lucas EP, Factor’s Time Invested and Heights Compilations, The Redwire Magazine Compilation, PSC.Luckyiam’s Extra Credit Two album, KAYA Mixtape, and Mils ‘The And’ Album.
Awards and Publicity
Winner of the First Nations Award for Arts and Entertainment in November 2008.
Featured in the BT Girls Baker Twins Calendar as a model for November 2009.
Featured in the A Proud Generation 2009 Calendar as a role model.
How did you originally become involved w/ hip-hop?
Well, back in the day when I was a kid I loved Young MC, Maestro, Eric B.and Rakim, Kool Mo Dee, Big Daddy Kane, you know, all the old school stuff that you could get on Much Music. I was raised on Much Music. I actually liked all kinds of music, but I was hit with hip hop full force in about ’93 or ’94 when a friend of mine who DJ’ed gave me a mix tape with stuff like Yaggfu Front, Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Souls of Mischief, Hieroglyphics, ODB, and De La Soul. I was hooked from then on. Living Legends are what completely turned me.
Where’d this name Eekwol come from, and does it have any meaning?
It actually spells Lowkee backwards, which was my original name. I switched it up mainly for the reason that some other female decided to start doing throw ups and tags all over Saskatoon using Loki. I thought they were too close and I didn’t want anyone thinking I was hitting up less than average graff. If you check the yards you may catch some hoppers and boxcars with the real “Lowkee“, but I quit writing about five years ago so who knows. Eekwol is a name that no one has (if they do they’re straight biting!) and it represents equality in hip-hop. I’m talking gender, cultural background,etc. I don’t want to be categorized because I’m a female, or Aboriginal, I wanna be recognized for my dedication, talent and love for this hip hop art. Eekwolity.
Biggest show you performed at? I’d have to say The Canadian Aboriginal Music Festival Showcase in Toronto last November. Shared the stage with some artists I really look up to like Os12 and Kinnie Starr, Rez Official, Slang Blossom; just a lot of young people doing their thing. Was the biggest powwow I’ve EVER been to. Whoa!
What is it that keeps you involved w/ hip-hop?
All I can say it the pure enjoyment of it. I love the mindset and dedication involved with making music. I find it very spiritual and therapeutic. I get high off hearing and seeing true hip hoppers creating and innovating in all the elements.
Who are some of the groups (nativewise) that you have performed w/ to date? Os12 and Manik outta Vancouver, Rez Official, and a few others at Aboriginal gatherings here and there. As far as other genres go, we always seem to perform at native events with native rock/country bands.
Who (nativewise) would you like to perform w/? Definitely Manik and Os12(Fresh Coast) again. They call themselves the Sunday Skool Dropouts and they’re on some next hip hop/political/spiritual type stuff and raising the bar for Native folks involved in hip-hop. Not afraid to speak their minds. I honestly don’t know many other artists that share similar goals to mine with whom I’d think to perform with. I guess I’d go on stage with anyone if it would make the circle stronger.
What messages do you try to get across w/ your lyrics? Just basically to live life the best way you know how and to not be afraid to think and be critical. We must question everything if we ever want to get anywhere. Also, I’m proud to be a female and I try to show that through my lyrics without crutching on the “female” words. This is why I don’t care for the word, “femcee” cause it sounds like a sub-category of Emcee, when in actuality they are the same thing. I want young girls to see life as an equal stage with equal opportunity, not the same as guys, but of the same value.
How’d you overcome stage fright?
A couple beers usually does the trick. Naw, just jokes. When I start to feel that anxiety I just imagine that I’m in the crowd and think about why go to shows; to have a damn good time, and I see the performers having a damn good time and I just wanna get out to that stage and show the crowd a damn good time! Seriously, it works.
Who do you look up to and owe a debt of gratitude to? Wow, so many people throughout life. I’d have to say the Creator and my family for sure, Elders whom I have listened to and gained understanding and knowledge from, my Innersoulflow crew cause I admire their talent and they keep me in line, and especially my man for his constant support and wisdom.
The craziness from rez to rez is rarely seen outside of those confines. How do you see the rez, and are there any changes you’d like to see happen across the board for all the rez’s out there? Hola, you’re asking for a whole essay here! I could get into this in depth, but I’ll just say that Native people on the rez have suffered through years of assimilation driven government policies, which has taken effect in phenomenal ways. It has become so complicated because people are divided spiritually (Christian vs. Traditional), economically (band system, dependency on government money), and socially (drunks, non-drinkers) within the rez and what was once important too many Native people has changed. Residential schools play a huge part in this. I guess I wish more people on the rez could educate themselves on the history and traditional ways of the past to gain a better understanding of where they stand. I just get so mad when everyone gets jealous at “councilor Joe’s” new Ford F150 when, in reality, it’s bought by government money siphoned outta some other area of funding. Too much corrupt activity and desires for material gains. It never used to be like that. I do see this kind of stuff in the city too. There’s a street in Saskatoon jokingly called 22nd St First Nation cause it just a long row of apartments that house 99% Native people. It’s crazy around there like a rez. To end this, I’m only speaking from what I know in SK as an urban dweller, so don’t take me too seriously, eh?
What CDs (or tapes, or 8tracks, or records, or whatever) can’t you do without?
There’s just too many, but I’ll just name a few off the dome: The CMA ‘All Over’, Freestyle Fellowship Innercity Griots, Neil Young Harvest Moon, Aceyalone Book of Human Language, Grouch Fuck the Dumb, PSC Extra Credit, King Koncepts, Ambershine Project, CCR Greatest Hits, Murs, In the Beginning; I could go on and on.
What are some of your pet peeves?Girls who like hip hop for the wrong reasons, spitters, Sunday drivers, and personal space invaders.
At this moment, are you single, taken, looking, or just plain ole sly? Pretty taken!
Wows (pow wows) that you would like to attend this year (2005)?
The usual ones around here, Muskoday, Mistawasis. I definitely plan to make it down the that huge Indian Summer one in Milwaukee. That was sick last year. I don’t really go to powwows as much as I used to; refer to previous question for reason! Got snagged!
How are your lyrics written best? Under pressure, without pressure, at your leisure, with help from other artists, on your own?
Mostly at my leisure and on my own. The lyrics I write are solely my own, but sometimes my bro and producer, Mils may help me with a hook or something because he’s very creative and particular with his beats(true artist) and gets a vision for them. Basically, I love writing lyrics, so it’s never under pressure. If I ain’t feeling a track, I won’t write to it.
Favorite show you performed at?
Probably opening for Mystik Journeymen cause they are defiantly a great influence on me and it was just all around fun.
Fans: love ’em, or learn to love ’em? Love ’em cause they make me who I am on stage and they support us by props and buying our albums. I get a buzz off seeing someone in the crowd rappin along with our lyrics. Yea, I love ’em cause I too am a fan of other artists so I live in both worlds.
To date, where has been the best place to showcase your skills?
Amongst crew when we’re just freestyling and relaxing at home.
Ever Tried DJing, tagging, b-girling, beat boxing? How do you think you fare in those elements? Did the graff thing for a few years but gave up cause I turned chicken shit about getting busted. I still have some unpaid fines in B.C. for getting caught in the yards. I tried breakin for a bit but I’m too damn lazy to practice everyday. I just watch now. I never tried beatboxing although I find it amazing.
Exercise: love it, wonder what it is, dread it, or would like to try it out sometime? I’m at the gym 2-3 times a week. I’m addicted to it, seriously. In winter we’re pretty limited to indoor stuff unless it’s warm enough to snowboard. However, I don’t snowboard so I don’t know why I’m tryna sound good.
Ever hear yourself on radio, or someone else’s ride? What was your reaction? The new album’s been getting a lot of community and college radio play and we’ve actually charted on Earshot and Chartattack, two of the biggest Canadian hip hop charts, so we’re getting love across the map! Sometimes one of us will hear someone bumpin our shit, which feels pretty good.
Cameras: in front of them, or behind the lens?
Kind of indifferent to them. I don’t mind getting some pix but I’m not a glutten for the camera. I can’t really take good pictures, though. My Dad’s a photographer but I guess I never picked it up.
Chance meeting w/ someone famous? If so, who was it? I met Uma Thurmen and Ethan Hawke on Denman St. in Van one day in the pizza joint. I had a skateboard with me and Ethan said, “Hey skater girl!” and they both smiled and walked out. That was pretty cool. Oh yea, I just missed Wesley Snipes at a club one time; DAMN! To me though, I’ve met most of my heroes; fellow artists and family.
Where’s been THE place you can just lounge around to yourself and be at ease?
At home, of course. I have a hard time relaxing though cause I’m always on the move. Sometimes my man just says, “Relax for fiiiiive minutes, okay?!“
Family? What do they mean to you? I’m very close with my family and I’m thankful for that. I have close to fifty aunties, uncles, and cousins so I’m never stuck.
First fist fight: laughable, or regrettable? Why? Definitely laughable because it was in grade 2. My best friend and I decided to get solid with the bully of the school telling her that we were tired of her “being mean“. She attacked me after school on a day that my buddy was absent. She kicked my ass pretty bad. It was just funny cause I was no match.
Favorite Fast Food spot: I’m all about Mr. Sub right now. Forget Subway cause it’s too expensive and the bread tastes hella phony.
It’s rumored that Cheech and Chong are doing another movie. You going to cough up the ends to watch it, sneak in to watch it, or just get around to it whenever it happens? I’ll check it out on cheap night for sure. I’ve seen Up in Smoke so many times and I still laugh. When I was about 5 years old Cheech visited our place in Winnipeg. I don’t remember, but my Dad’s still pretty proud about it. I guess he was related to one of my Dad’s smoking buddies or something. Lol.
Do you cook? If so, what’s your specialty dish to chef up? I love cooking almost as much as rapping! I can cook a lot of things but I love cooking curry dishes. I try to keep it healthy, but sometimes I’ll just whip up a big ol’ meaty lasagna. My man’s parents give us moose or deer meat, so that’s always cool.
Tattoos? If so, where, and what are there meanings? Oh, and why did you get them, if you have them? Yea, a couple on my arms. There’s a lizard on my forearm that I got when I was 15. I can’t really remember why I got it other than the fact that I love animals and lizards are so cute (Would that be 15 year old logic?). The armband it my old name, “Lowkee” done as a graff piece. I will never regret either of these because they both explain a time in my life. The piece represents hip-hop to me.
Is it true that Canadians think Americans are a li’l off?
I guess they seem a little scary concerning their capabilities. Patriotism can be a good thing, but too much can create a really bad thing. I could get into American history here but I won’t. That’s your homework for tonight.
How’s the whole hockey thing for you? Do you like it, love it, or doesn’t pertain to you? Doesn’t pertain to me. I’ve never been interested in competitive sports.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Rockin shows across Europe or Teaching Native Studies to a class full of students of all classes and races.
What are your plans for the next year for your career?
I’m riding on this release of my new album, ‘Apprentice to the Mystery‘ and lovin’ it. I’ve also done a video for the track – Too Sick which is being played on Much and MTV Canada and APTN. I probably request it more than anyone else, but if anyone wants to request it, email [email protected] and ask for it! Please? Also, I’m planning another Canadian Tour and possibly Europe or Australia; we’ll see.
What does a guy have to have to catch your eye? He has to have a frequent and genuine smile. Humour is a MUST, Indian style humour with the ability to shut it off when it’s inappropriate. Cha. Oh yea, he’s gotta have mad style. Fashion is an art form that some people got and some not. I always look at shoes first; kicks represent who a person is! Lastly, health consciousness is cool. If I see a guy eating a salad, Hold me back!
What should a guy never do to get your attention? Brag. It just kills me how some guys feel they have to prove themselves through how much they’ve supposedly accomplished.
Do you have more guy friends, or female friends and why? I’ve always had more guy friends cause they’re just more relaxed and sure about themselves. It’s not always, “How does my hair look? Are these jeans too tight? Oh my God, I can’t go anywhere cause I’m too fat today!“. I do have real, confident girlfriends too, but I usually end up chillin with guys.
Be honest, is it really true personality goes a long way in trying to win a female’s attention?
Fa sho’ Like I said, good sense of humor and confidence are admirable attributes. Real girls prefer personality over playerism any day. Although you gotta have at least a little going on in the physical,,. It’s all about a balance.
How’s school going for you? Done. BA in Indigenous Studies. I’ll do the Master’s thing when I can’t rap no more.
Is college really as complicated as I’ve heard?
I can’t remember! I’m so used to writing papers and doing research that it’s easy. But, yea, I guess it is kinda hard to learn the academic way of life.
Does the crowd get you hype, or do you get the crowd hype?
Totally reciprocal. I think we feed off each other.
Ever acted, or thought about it? Not really. I just know I’d start laughing at the smallest thing. I have a problem with my laughter cause it’s not easily controlled in situations where it should be. I call it the “supper table syndrome“. You know, when Dad says, “No more laughing, now eat your food or I’m gonna get mad!” and you feel like you’re gonna die if you don’t laugh? That’s my problem so I don’t think I should go into acting.
What magazines do you buy often, or have subscribed to? Elements, Vice, URB, and Big Brother(hella funny writers!).
What type of movies do you find most entertaining? Comedy, of course. Sometimes horror, but the cheap kind that ends up being comedy anyway, like Evil Dead 1 and 2.
Jay and Silent Bob are too crazy. Do you know who they are?
Yep, I’ve followed their careers since Mallrats. I like them cause they remind me of people I know.
Any advice for those wanting to get involved in this hip hop stuff?
Don’t dive in head first. Do your homework or you’ll just make a fool of yourselves. Hip hop is more than just rapping, it’s a culture and an art form. Always respect those who paved the way and those who are your peers and just make sure you get involved FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!
Favorite quote? “A warrior chooses a path with heart and follows it; and then he rejoices and laughs. He knows because he sees that his life will be over altogether too soon. He sees that nothing is more important than anything else.” Don Juan from Carlos Castenada’s The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.
Craziest incident that happened to you at a show, or preshow? Sorry, can’t mention it in front of the chillens.
Most memorable moment you had in your life, to date? I haven’t forgotten anything. Everything is a blessing and every moment is sacred.
Randy (m’baby), my fam, all my KCR crew, all my Innersoulfow doods; Mils (tightest producer since Dre!), Mass (Misty Massamillion), Lucas, Fatty-Down, Suga-D, Living Legends (PSC.Luckyiam!), all the college/community radio stations, Redwire Magazine, Rez Official, Sunday Skool Dropouts, all Aboriginal hip hop artists representing, and everyone doing there hip-hop thing across the globe.
Last comments before this thing is wrapped up:
Be yourself in this hip hop game; Try to act like someone else and you won’t get very far.
Be on the lookout for new albums droppin’ on Mils Productions: The new Ddose is in the mix, New Mils, ‘The And’ album bout to drop in Spring, and more to come from me soon, Peace and Respect!
WFG Throwdown! – Three local hip hop artists along with three local music video directors got together to mentor youth from three local community centres. Together they created three awesome original music videos.