Cadence Weapon


After months of waiting, the winner of the prestigious Polaris Prize was announced last night during an online celebration. The event was hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, host of CBC Music’s The Block.

The winner is none other than Edmonton native Cadence Weapon for his 2020 release Parallel World. The album was awarded the prize by an 11-member jury based on artistic merit. Along with the prize, Cadence Weapon will take home $50,000. He was previously shortlisted for his 2006 release Breaking Kayfabe and his 2012 release Hope in Dirt City.

Inspired by a mid-COVID walk along Queen Street West in Toronto and the writings of Desmond Cole, the album is loaded with social commentary about gentrification and the Black experience. Along with the strong messaging, it also features some almost futuristic sounding production that is nothing like we’ve ever heard before. He even dropped a syllabus for the project on his newsletter.

During his acceptance speech he took the time to thank the people who supported his artistry over the years.

“I wanna shout out all my friends in Montreal”, he said. “You helped me become the artist I am today, and also the artistic community in Toronto because I feel like this album is all about our experience here in this city.”

He also took time to shout out young artists in his native Edmonton and to announce that he’d be using his resources to promote voter registration during the next municipal and provincial elections.

SHIFTER’s editor-in-chief, Kevin Bourne, recently hosted an episode of CBC Music’s The Ten taking a track-by-track look at the now Polaris Prize winning album. During the episode he noted, “If you’re not familiar with Cadence Weapon, he’s an amazing lyricist; a rapper’s rapper, and a kind of social commentator. He has a very eclectic pallet when it comes to the kinds of beats he rhymes over.”

Parallel World is available on all major streaming platforms.


Check out Cadence Weapon’s Polaris acceptance speech