Saskatoon Indigenous-run hip hop record label aims to give young people a platform
An Indigenous-run hip hop record label in Saskatoon hopes to give young people a platform to inspire others.
Damien, who is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, is one of the artists working with Stay Royal Records.
The 25-year-old father of one said music helped him learn how to read and write when he was in high school.
“I did it by reading lyrics of other songs and once I got better at that, then I started going through the thesaurus and dictionary,” Damien told CTV News.
“As soon as I got better, I started writing rhymes and then went more in-depth with the music that I was making.”
Damien, whose music focuses on storytelling, said he hopes to inspire others, especially his daughter.
“I hope that one day when she listens to my music, she’ll be like ‘yes, that’s my dad and I want to be like him.’ And hopefully I set the right example by chasing your dreams and going for what you really want to do and not listen to anyone else that tells you different.”
Stay Royal Records, a Saskatoon Indigenous-run hip hop record label, aims to give young people a platform. (Courtesy Stay Royal Records)
Stay Royal Records primarily works with young artists who are Indigenous and people of colour.
Co-creator Raistlin Morning Owl said the goal of the label is to help artists hone their skills and discover who they are.
“Our importance is not only for the Indigenous community, but the youth, providing them an outlet. That’s something that I didn’t have when I was younger, so to be able to give that back is something that’s very important to us.”
Morning Owl, who is 24, is the youngest artist signed to the label, but he said the goal is to eventually give back and fund programs for people as young as five.
“There’s a lot that I think the youth can learn and giving them something to do extracurricular-wise is huge because you know, you’re taking them away from other things that could be negative influences.”
Morning Owl said the label is always looking for new talent and that they get submissions from people across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Undergrind Skates in Saskatoon is rooted in local hip hop culture as it used to sell records.
Owner Sheldon Evacheski is a supporter of Stay Royal Records and said what they’re doing will help the local scene thrive.
“The way things are, the climate of our country right now, I think it’s super important to bring that brand of hip hop to the forefront,” he said.
“Especially giving a voice to the youth. Youth are our future so we need to foster that.”
For Damien, he said his two years working with the label have been memorable.
“It’s really motivational, really inspirational and hopefully I can bring what I have to the table and inspire others by doing it.”
Stay Royal Records is holding a show at Black Cat Tavern on Nov. 6 featuring some artists from the label to help bring the local hip hop community together.