The Snotty Nose Rez Kids, a hip-hop duo from the Haisla Nation made up of Darren "Young D" Metz and Quinton "Yung Trybez" Nyce, have apologized on Facebook for lyrics and messages in their music that have “failed to uplift our community."
The post was long—more than 3,300 words— because they wanted to fully share their “weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and begin to rebuild any hurt relationships.” SNRK, as the group is known, is one of 10 in the running for the Polaris Prize for their album Trapline.
The men wrote that family, friends, fans and others have reached out to the duo to say some of their lyrics are harmful.
“We know people are hurting and we have caused that hurt, we are trying very hard to be gracious about this. Our lack of understanding towards some important topics have ignited tough conversations.”
They said they were told “how we harmed, but being sorry is not enough.”
“Since the beginning, we've always strived to uphold our people in our music, share our shared experiences and teachings, and be positive role models for our youth.
“… we failed… and some of our music doesn’t accurately honour the many experiences, voices, and identities in our community… we must hold ourselves accountable when the message we share through our music and platform misrepresents the people who have taught us our teachings.”
They point to a number of tracks, including “Son of a Matriarch” and “Crazy”, as having “problematic lyrics that contributes to sexism, transmisogyny, ableism, and reproduces the stigma and shame surrounding mental health."
In “Son of a Matriarch” they said “Our repeated use of 'real women' implied that we had the power to define what a woman is” and that is not the case.
They say they want to make a commitment to not feature demeaning portrayals of women in any of future lyrics or albums.
This is important to us as Indigenous men, they wrote
“We failed to fully understand the impact of our lyrics. We did not represent trans women, two-spirit people, and gender non-binary/conforming people from our Indigenous community. We are grateful for the teachings and those teaching will be reflected in our actions going forward.”
In response to the criticism, the duo has gone through their published work “annotating” a number of songs, and removing songs altogether from their live shows until lyrics are revived though community consultation
“We hope to set a standard for ongoing community engagement, reciprocity, accountability, and responsibility… We hold ourselves to a different standard because as Indigenous artists our responsibilities are greater than the music we create.”
The statement read they are “not here to make excuses or to justify what has happened. Our intention is to provide context and understanding. We don’t think our apology would be meaningful or sincere otherwise. Part of the accountability process for us is understanding how it came to be and sharing where we neglected our responsibilities.
“It is necessary that we do not perpetuate the colonial oppression that we all face.”
SNRK’s statement may have been sparked, in part, by a Facebook post by—“a loyal listener for years" (name withheld by request)—entitled Why I Can No Longer Support SNRK’s Music.”
Over the years, the fan had spoken to the group about mental health issues, the post reads, and she appreciated the work on the first two albums.
But when SNRK’s third album came out, “two of the songs gave me an icky feeling.”
“When I heard the song Crazy, I was appalled. I don’t like people using the word crazy. It is offensive to people with mental illness… Words like this have been used to harm us.”
She called Son of a Matriarch “hypocritical. You went from calling women bitches to having a song calling them matriarchs to please your audience? I don’t buy it. The most problematic part of this song for me is ‘real women make the world go round’… this line is transphobic… You say fuck the patriarch. You are literally upholding patriarchy by spreading an anti-trans message.”
To read SNRK's entire post go to https://www.facebook.com/snottynoserezkids/posts/2366664206713568
It ends with “With love, Snotty Nose Rez Kids”