Native American recording artist, producer and activist, David Strickland shares new single “Armed & Dangerous” featuring EPMD and Saukrates from his upcoming debut album Spirit of Hip Hop. Premiered today on Mass Appeal, “Armed & Dangerous” is a menacing summer anthem that’s led by stellar bars from Erick Sermon and Parrish of EPMD and Saukrates.
David Strickland previously released singles “Rez Life” and “Window” on July 1st. “Rez Life” features six of Canada’s best Indigenous rappers and producers outlining their experiences growing up on the reservation and what it’s like for Native youth in today’s world. It was strategically released on Canada’s 150th Anniversary in protest of the country’s treatment of its Indigenous population, serving as a reminder of the many broken treaties and promises to the Indigenous people throughout history.
“‘Armed & Dangerous’ is special to me not only because of my past work with Erick Sermon, PMD, Def Squad & Saukrates but because both Saukrates and I came up listening to and loving EPMD. To have these legends represent for me on ‘Spirit Of Hip Hop’ has deep meaning. This song is powerful and represents where I am in life right now; I’ve shed the past throughout my journey and now I’m Armed & Dangerous with the tools the Creator has blessed me with.” – David Strickland
Citing similarities between hip hop’s foundation and the Indigenous story in North America, David strives to showcase these connections by creating a unique blend of traditional Indigenous sounds and mainstream rap rhythms. David equates the four elements of hip hop with Indigenous expression – DJ is the Drummer; MC is the Storyteller; B-boys are the Dancers; Graffiti Artists are the sandpainter / petrogliph artists. These four elements are part of a teaching David received from the legendary Native American photographer, icon, and activist Ernie Pannicoli. From Drezus to Def Squad to Winnipeg Boys to Young Buck, Spirit of Hip Hop brings together an all star line up of Indigenous and mainstream hip hop artists to create this culturally relevant sound.
As one of the most successful Indigenous audio engineers in North America, David Strickland has a Grammy award, JUNO awards, and platinum selling records under his belt. From Method Man to Drake to The Clipse, Glenn Lewis and Sade, David has worked behind the boards with some of the most celebrated artists in hip hop and R&B over the past 25 years.
Bridging the gap for Indigenous artists in North America is inherently important to David. As a role model for First Nation’s Youth, David combines traditional and cultural teachings in his work and is committed to raising awareness on major social issues. David talks more about this passion in the VICE documentary First Out Here, a documentary about the rise of Indigenous hip hop artists in Canada. Through his storied career, David Strickland has persevered through many challenges to reach the top of the Canadian music industry and he is excited to share the story of the Spirit of Hip Hop.