Bursting forth from Canada’s capital, native Producer and DJ crew A Tribe Called Red is making an impact on the global electronic music scene with a truly unique sound. The group is known to blend instrumental hip-hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming.
ATCR was made up of three members – 2oolman, DJ NDN and Bear Witness, but late last year the trio became a duo with DJ NDN departing the group to focus on his health and shifting his energy towards public speaking, mentorship and advocacy work. The duo now consists of Tim “2oolman” Hill (Mohawk, of the Six Nations of the Grand River), and Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas (of the Cayuga First Nation).
The group’s name “A Tribe Called Red” is a homage to the 90s hip-hop group, ‘A Tribe Called Quest,’ that tackled ethnic African American social grievances. ATCR utilizes music as a universal platform to promote inclusion, empathy and acceptance among all races and genders in the name of social justice. They believe that indigenous people need to define their identity on their own terms.
In 2012, they released a self-titled debut album, which earned them a Polaris Music Prize nomination. In 2013, they followed-up with a second album titled, ‘Nation II Nation.’ Their most recent LP ‘ We Are the Halluci Nation’ was released in 2016 and features collaborations with Narcy, Yasiin Bey, Lido Pimienta, Shad, Tanya Tagaq, Joseph Boyden and Black Bear.
The band won a Juno Award in 2014 for ‘Breakthrough Group of the Year.’ Last year, they took home two awards, one for ‘Album of the Year’ at the Canadian Independent Music Awards and ‘Video of the Year’ at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards.
Their most recent single “The Light” features the 2017 Polaris Music Prize winner, Lido Pimienta. The Spanish-spoken track has an infectious beat that melds in nicely with Pimienta’s vocals.