Roland “Rollie” Pemberton had an upbringing uniquely suited to becoming a rapper. His father Teddy, a Brooklyn native, was the DJ that introduced hip-hop to Edmonton with his pioneering radio show The Black Experience in Sound on CJSR 88.5 FM.
After spending his childhood immersed in his father’s diverse archive of music, Rollie started rapping at age 13.
Soon, he was entering freestyle battles, rocking shows with his uncle’s funk band and teaching himself how to make beats. Following the online success of his Cadence Weapon Is The Black Hand mixtape, Rollie released his self-produced debut album Breaking Kayfabe in December 2005 at the age of 19. It was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Prize.
In 2009, Rollie Pemberton was appointed Poet Laureate of Edmonton, making him the literary ambassador of his home city for two years. He followed up this literary stint with 2012’s Hope In Dirt City, an album produced by Rollie recording live instruments and sampling them for his beats. The album was his second to be shortlisted for the Polaris Prize.
Now based in Toronto, Cadence is back with a new self-titled album that expands his stylistic range by incorporating elements of trap, funk, electro, techno and grime. This record finds Cadence refining his songwriting as he explores themes of individuality, race, technology and existentialism through his expressive lyrics.