Hailing from Maskwacis, Alberta, War Party was a groundbreaking Cree group with a long-standing legacy in Canada’s hip-hop scene.
Made up of Rex Smallboy, Cynthia Smallboy, Karmen Omeosoo, Bryan Omeosoo, Ryan Small and Tom Crier, War Party was the first Indigenous hip-hop group to have a music video televised nationally on MuchMusic in 2001. Their award-winning album The Reign (2000) and single “Feeling Reserved” gave voice to First Nations youth and inspired a new generation of Indigenous hip-hop artists.
War Party made it their mission to lead, inspire and empower young fans with socially conscious music, and to raise mainstream awareness around issues associated with poverty, systematic oppression, addiction, and the disturbing legacy of residential school trauma.
Their dynamic stage presence and politically-charged lyrics opened many doors, leading to performances with hip-hop alumni Wu-Tang Clan, Ice-T and Maestro Fresh Wes, and a collaboration with rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy. In 2005, the trailblazing group was chosen to represent Canada at the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan.
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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.