Lend Your Ears to These Native Rappers for Native History Month
Christine Horner, copy editor
In case you haven’t already heard, November is Native History Month. Appropriately, I thought I would share some of the Indigenous musicians I’ve been enjoying lately. These unique rappers have caught my attention and I think they’ll catch yours too.
You’ll recognize this first musical group if you’ve watched “Reservation Dogs.” The pair is witty and provides additional comic relief on the Hulu show. Called Mike Bone, the pair consists of Lil Mike and Funny Bone who portray the fictional Mose and Mekko on the Emmy-nominated series. According to mikebonemedia.com, the pair has won multiple awards for their music. They have experience as motivational speakers and advocate on their Instagram bio to have “a positive spin on hip hop.” While listening to their music, it becomes clear that they aim to uphold this value as much as possible. In “Saved & Luvin It ft. Flud Cavion and Mr Slim,” which can be found on their 2010 album, “Crunk Nativez,” they rap about being blessed by the Lord. They truly use their music as an opportunity to praise God and express their faith. “Sticks and Stones” from their 2018 album, “Beat of the Drum,” is another example of their affinity for self-love and positivity: “it doesn’t matter what you say, I’m shifting my gaze […] I won’t let it phase when I’m hitting the stage.” They exude positivity and light through their music, and they want others to experience the joy they have. I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening to their music.
You’re missing out if you aren’t already listening to Mattmac. I first discovered him on Instagram, and I have yet to hear one of his songs that I don’t enjoy. He recently released his second album, “Blurred Visions,” in 2022. It’s an 11-song record with emotional yet hopeful lyrics. “Status,” for example, is backed by heavy instrumentals, and each line is laced with struggle and optimism. “All I want is respect never thought about the fame / you’re easy to forget when nobody knows your name / so I put the work in, motivated by the pain / been trying to stack some money so I gotta play the game.” His lyrics and his story are both truly inspirational. The musician was born blind and has been musically inclined since childhood; music offers him an escape from the stressors of the world and serves as his “coping mechanism.” He is only in his early twenties, but he has so many unique experiences and perspectives. Don’t hesitate to listen to his music – in my opinion, many people will resonate with its messages.
Finally, I want to talk about T H R O N E. I wish I could hear them for the first time all over again. I also found them on Instagram and they’ve had a grip on me ever since. The duo consists of YVHIKH (yuh-hey-guh) and Hayatheus (hi-ah-theus), and they’re partners both in and out of the studio. Their music is catchy and fun to listen to as well as being deep and meaningful. It sounds like each word was chosen very intentionally and with great care. It’s also clear that they draw much of their inspiration from multiple genres and artists. They confirmed this in an interview with Native Max Magazine; they listed Radiohead, Erykah Badu and Gorillaz just to name a few. Their backing instrumentals are jazzy, and when they’re juxtaposed with YVHIKH’s smooth vocals and Hayatheus’ punchy rapping, it’s like dessert for my ears.
Like I said–each of these artists carries their own uniqueness and individuality into their music. If you aren’t yet convinced by this review, check them out for yourself. You can find them on Instagram at @mikebonemusic (Mike Bone), @mattmaconline (Mattmac), and @somerapcouple (T H R O N E). Listen to them again, and again, and again–you won’t be disappointed.
T H R O N E