Cadence Weapon is here to work. After years of leading the rap avant-garde, the Toronto-based, Edmonton, AB native is more self-assured than ever, making moves in his own lane with no endorsements or sponsorships. In his new loose single, Don’t Talk To Me, Cadence Weapon links with Toronto producer, FrancisGotHeat, (Roy Woods, Bryson Tiller, Drake) for a mellow yet refined sound, detailing his renewed focus, and demanding the people who aren’t adding value to stay away.

“The song is inspired by my experiences navigating the rap scene over the years,” Cadence explains. “Since my last album, I’ve matured a lot, refined my music and surrounded myself with people who have my best interests in mind. It’s about refocusing my energy and flipping the script to the next page of my career. There’s a restorative element to this song. ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ means ‘don’t talk to me unless it’s something productive.’ That’s all I care about.”

Earlier this year, Cadence Weapon ended his long hiatus from recording music by teaming up with Kaytranada for My Crew (Woooo), a haunting, heart-pounding track. Through frenetic tongue-twisting verses that call out internet trolls and Camo pant-wearing cops, My Crew (Woooo) mirrors the energy of Montreal’s underground after-hours party scene, complete with hedonistic imagery and shout outs to his crew dwelling in the various neighbourhoods of the city. Cadence describes the song as “an anthem about unapologetically being who you want to be, no matter what anybody else thinks.”

Recognized as Canada’s “most creative” rapper by the National Post, Cadence Weapon (aka Roland “Rollie” Pemberton) has consistently exhibited a passion to take rap into new and unexpected directions. Born in Edmonton, Cadence 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, Cadence 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, Cadence released his self-produced debut album, Breaking Kayfabe, in December 2005 at the age of 19. The album was met with international critical acclaim, with the BBC praising its mix of “vivid, scattershot rhymes” and “techno-tinged beats.” In 2009, Cadence was appointed Poet Laureate of Edmonton, making him the literary ambassador of his home city for two years, during which he was invited to read poetry for an event at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He followed up this literary stint with 2012’s Hope In Dirt City, an album produced by Cadence recording live instruments and sampling them for his beats. The album was his second to be shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize.