From the reservations to the big cities – a new generation of Native American hip-hop performers emerges.
‘I see 20/20 … they pimp us for money. Revising our story – they’re televising … Hey Diane Sawyer – I am a warrior- give me your camera and send me your lawyer’ raps Frank Waln – a young Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
His 2011 track ‘Oil 4 Blood’ continues on a political bent – referring to war-mongering politicians who seek mineral wealth but ‘want the earth dead’.Waln’s politically charged subject matter is fairly representative of a whole new generation of Native hip-hop performers.But Waln is not just your typical ‘angry young man’ from a reservation.A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship – he attended Columbia College in Chicago – originally intending to become a doctor.He wasn’t always as focused in his life.
‘When I was a kid music was a sanctuary for me.
I was very insecure’ says Waln – who started playing piano at age 7.
‘Part of that was growing up in a rodeo cowboy family and we had to just ‘cowboy up.’
We were Native Americans in survival mode with a history of genocide’.