Drezus (born Jeremiah Manitopyes) is a Plains Cree rapper and activist based in Calgary, AB. As a young man he faced violence and multiple jail stints but found purpose and meaning through music, culture, and self-discovery.
Drezus became a founding member of the group Team Rezofficial, which included some of the former members of War Party. Their debut album, The Foundation, would go on to win the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop album in 2004. While attending a drug rehabilitation centre in 2012, a cultural course helped Drezus develop a stronger interest in his Indigenous identity. Soon after leaving rehab he was robbed in a revenge attack, but as a result of the event he decided to permanently change his life with music. Major accomplishments soon followed, including awards for MTV Best Music Video, Best Producer/Engineer, Best Rap/Hip Hop Album, and Indigenous Entertainer of the Year. Many of these awards were earned on the success of his album, Indian Summer, released in the summer of 2014. Finding deep meaning in music himself, he is now working to share it with those who will listen. His 2013 album, Red Winter, won multiple awards and earned him invitations to speak to government agencies such as the Calgary Youth Offender Centre. In 2017 Drezus won the Best Fight Against the System MTV VMA Award with Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas for Stand Up / Stand N Rock, a rallying song in support of the pipeline protestors at Standing Rock.
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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.