– by Jess Zaccaria
A Tribe Called Red are set to release their third studio album We Are The Halluci Nation on the 16th of September.
ATCR are a Canadian DJ Collective who combines sounds of hip-hop, traditional pow-wow and edgy electronic sounds to create globally unique music. The group is defined by the three native producers and DJs of the electronic scene – DJ NDN, Bear Witness and 2oolman. The trio incorporates elements from the First Nations in their music which mainly focuses on vocal chanting and drumming.
The collective is known to celebrate the layers and complexity of urban and contemporary Indigenous culture and experience through their music. They are a group that are a part of a vital new generation of artists who are making a cultural and social impact in Canada. ATCR aims to promote inclusivity, empathy and acceptance amongst all races and genders to support justice and they live by the belief that Indigenous peoples should have the power to define their own identity, which is translated through their music.
We Are The Halluci Nation is the third album from ATCR. It contains many noteworthy collaborations including hip-hop legend Yasiin Bey, visual artist and musician Lido Pimiento, and native musicians such as Black Bear and Tanya Tagaq.
The opening title track features poet and musician John Trusdell. It’s no mistake that the first voice you hear is his, he’s seen as the forefather of the movement so his presence is perfectly fitting. Trusdell speaks throughout the entirety of the song, explaining the movement as well as the band’s values: “We are the tribe they cannot see…we are the hallucination.” This lyric alone paints the image of a repressed culture; people that have been labelled, people that have been forced to hide, people who are invisible. In the background there is First Nations chanting and drumming, as well as the electronic sounds.
Another notable track is “R.E.D” which features Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear. ATCR have made history with this track as it is the first song to feature an African, an Iraqi and an Indigenous Canadian all in one song. It is a harsher and more direct song than the first but addresses issues that are similar in style. The song is seen as a protest tune that is confronting material religions such as capitalism or colonialism. Other tracks on the album include “The Virus”, “Indian City” and “ALie Nation” that relate back to this idea of repression and colonialism.
The album closes with “SOON” which features a man talking on a payphone, supposedly a member of Halluci Nation. He is in jail and addresses what will happen when he gets out, how the Halluci Nation will rise and how he hopes younger generations don’t have to experience what they did. It is a great closing track for the album as it sets up this idea that “SOON” plans and ideas will be put into action.