Snotty Nose Rez Kid and Skinny Local Released ‘Screaming Indian’
Indigenous and immigrant pride join forces in a moshpit of a collaboration between Juno and Polaris nominated Haisla rappers Snotty Nose Rez Kids and Surrey-based South Asian trap wave producer Skinny Local. Originating from a jam session in the Snakes x Ladders studio almost 2 years ago, “Screaming Indian” is a joyous and rowdy celebration of solidarity that feels more timely with every passing day. This is not a government-sanctioned display of ‘multiculturalism’. This is a pedal to the metal mad max vision of what is actually happening right now in our streets and neighborhoods – and real, raw, and inspiring.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids are the combined talents of Yung Trybez and Young D, hailing from the Haisla Nation, “The People of the Snow”. SNRK blends trap beats with the woven lyricism that challenges Indigenous stereotypes that paint their people as ill-mannered savages. Their music is best described as thought-provoking club bangers. And their live shows prove it. Audiences will dance and sweat, but they’ll leave with new knowledge.
Skinny Local is Vancouver based Indian origin producer and composer, Creating beats that transcend to a new world while using past familiar sounds in our world. Skinny was born in an Indian Family, in Durban, South Africa, and immigrated to Canada in 2001. Produced the song Gooda Gold for Cartel Madras. He has a background in film and wanted to bring storytelling to his music.
The title “Screaming Indian” was an idea based on the retired Atlanta Braves logo that was also referred to as the “Screaming Savage.” They were forced to retire it because of the obvious outrage from Indigenous activists who viewed the logo as racist and harmful to our people. The Braves “retired” the logo in 1989 and tried to bring it back in 2013 as a batting practice logo that is what sparked the idea for us. This reminds us that we need to continue to do this work for us to move forward. The world we live in moves fast and people forget quickly. We need to remind ourselves of where we come from while reminding the world of what they’ve done to our lands and people. In this song, we reclaim and embody the ‘Screaming Indian.’
What inspired the song?
To our knowledge, there hasn’t been an Indian & ‘Indian’ (Indigenous) mash-up in Hip-Hop. It seems like an obvious choice that Indigenous people and Indian people would collaborate as their histories are intertwined in one colonial historical moment where, thinking he’d reached India, Columbus dubbed the people he sought to conquer and eradicate, ‘Indians.’ It’s also a painful history and perhaps one that seems less obvious for collaboration and partnership. While factions of people within India may claim to have endured imposed conditions similar to those of Indigenous people, and India was certainly part of the European colonial project, India and Indigenous nations do not necessarily share much of a shared history, in general. Nevertheless, Indians from India and ‘Indians’ from Turtle Island and America’s do share a legacy bond that began with a misnomer and it’s from that standpoint that Vancouver-based Indian label, Snakes X Ladders, and Indigenous duo, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, have teamed up to release ‘Screaming Indian.’
How did the collaboration come to play?
The idea of the collaboration came to life when we played a celebratory event with Delhi to Dublin in 2017 for the newly elected NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. We then played 2 more shows with the group where we built a connection with Tarun Nayar who is a part of another group called Desi Sub Culture. Tarun really resonated with the message behind our music and he is a really talented producer so the collab made a lot of sense for us as fresh artists on the scene.
Who produced it? What was it like working together?
‘Screaming Indian’ originated from a jam session in the Snakes X Ladders studio almost 2 years ago between SNRK and Delhi 2 Dublin producer, Tarun Nayar. Picking up the reigns in 2020 was Surrey-based South Asian trap wave producer, Skinny Local, who breathed new life into the song and brought it back to SNRK to re-record. The subject matter is fitting because it was written at a time when SNRK was working on TRAPLINE, and that album was about building bridges to other marginalized communities. ‘Screaming Indian’ does just that; it’s a joyous and rowdy celebration of solidarity that feels timelier with each passing day.
Was there a story you are trying to tell or convey with the song? Lyrics>?
Make no mistake; this is not a government-sanctioned display of ‘multiculturalism.’ This is an in-your-face vision of what is actually happening right now in our streets and neighborhoods: real, raw, and inspiring. It’s middle fingers up to government-sanctioned racism, like the potlatch ban, and it’s an unabashed reclamation of voice, respect for Creator, celebration of culture and identity. It’s tongue in cheek moments like, “Imma run for the prime minister and still won’t pay my taxes” that fly in the face of all the racism that Indigenous people have endured through colonialism, the second wave of racism against Indigenous people from Canadians when reclamation efforts like reduced government taxation took effect, and it shows that Snotty Nose Rez Kids are not afraid to shy away from deep subject matter with playfulness and jest. With unmistakable production that lends to the instrumentalism that defines Indian music, Screaming Indian is about claiming power and space for two marginalized groups of people through hip-hop.