Cadence Weapon: High Rise

The former Poet Laureate and Polaris shortlister is grabbing significant attention with this new song and video addressing Toronto's condo boom. Skittering beats underscore his typically fluid wordflow and incisive lyrics.

Cadence Weapon: High Rise

By Kerry Doole

Cadence Weapon - "High Rise" (eOne): Not many Canadian rappers can boast of a video that has sparked a feature story in the news section of a major newspaper. That happened to Cadence Weapon earlier this week when the Toronto Star ran an interview with CW on his views on the housing crisis and condo boom in his adopted hometown of Toronto.

The acclaimed rapper born Rollie Pemberton is comfortable in such a spotlight. After all, his fluent rhyming skills landed him the post of Poet Laureate of Edmonton from 2009-10, as well as bringing him two Polaris Prize shortlist placings with earlier albums.


"High Rise" is a highlight cut on his self-titled fourth album, released back in January. The track features his customary smart wordplay as he takes on a challenging issue. Sample lyrics: "Who needs community, not me and you .. swimming pools all in our suite, beats the view on College Street." The skittering beats courtesy of producer Jacques Greene provide a perfect backdrop to CW's effective and oft-rapid rhymes. 

Cadence Weapon explained the video to The Toronto Star this way: "I wanted to show something that felt unique and commented on my perspective of condo life and gentrification that was subtle but also illuminating for people. Living in Montreal and Edmonton and coming to Toronto and seeing the kind of condoland, I find it feels a little oppressive to be in these spaces, so I wanted the video to reflect how I am feeling in these spaces."

At a time when so much hip-hop is full of empty bluster, it is refreshing to find a track with a social conscience.


Artist website



'La nuit s’achève' album cover


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