Cadence Weapon

  (Redirected from Rollie Pemberton)

Roland "Rollie" Pemberton, better known by his stage name Cadence Weapon, is a Canadian-American rapper based in Toronto, Ontario.[1] Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Pemberton released his first album, Breaking Kayfabe, in 2005 with positive reviews. He subsequently signed with the American record label ANTI-, releasing the albums Afterparty Babies in 2008 and Hope in Dirt City in 2012. In 2009, Cadence Weapon was named Edmonton's Poet Laureate.[2] His first book Magnetic Days was published by Metatron in 2014.[citation needed] Cadence Weapon released a self-titled album in 2018.

Cadence Weapon
Cadence Weapon.jpg
Background information
Birth nameRoland Pemberton
Born (1986-02-21) February 21, 1986 (age 35)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
GenresCanadian hip hop
Alternative hip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, producer
Years active2005–present
LabelseOne Music Canada
Upper Class Recordings
Big Dada
Associated actsBuck 65, Skratch Bastid, Noah23

His fifth studio album, Parallel World, was released on April 30, 2021, and won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize on September 27, 2021.[3]


Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, his father was Teddy Pemberton, a pioneering hip hop DJ on CJSR-FM, and his grandfather was Rollie Miles, a football player for the Edmonton Eskimos.[2] He began rapping at age 13, and following high school he briefly attended journalism school, dropping out soon afterward to concentrate on music.[4] He released the mixtape Cadence Weapon Is the Black Hand in 2005, and his full-length debut Breaking Kayfabe at the end of the year.

Breaking Kayfabe garnered strong reviews in Canadian, American and British media, and Cadence toured extensively to support the disc, including concerts across Canada and three shows in Austin, Texas at the 2006 South by Southwest festival. Chart magazine named Cadence Weapon one of the 15 Canadian artists to watch in 2006. In addition, the composite review site Metacritic listed Breaking Kayfabe as one of the best albums of 2006.[5]

Cadence described his inspiration to pursue a career in music: "It was around me all the time when I was growing up, my dad was a DJ and he would play all sorts of stuff around the house, Hip hop, electro, funk and my mum would play piano. And I suppose I just randomly got into rapping. I remember rapping in math class, I failed maths, but I suppose I did OK in other things."[6] Cadence has said that he is inspired by dance music: "I'm a big Basement Jaxx fan. I like the way their music sounds, really like it's a party happening. It sounds really organic and super-tech. Switch. Obviously Daft Punk. I'm into very European stuff. I like some of the Ed Banger stuff. Dubsided Records."[7] In addition to his own recordings, Cadence Weapon has also remixed tracks for Lady Sovereign[1] and Ciara, and has written hiphop reviews for Stylus Magazine and Pitchfork Media.

Cadence Weapon was nominated for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize,[1] which awards $20,000 for the Canadian album of the year. However, he lost to Owen Pallett's He Poos Clouds. Coincidentally, the Toronto alternative newspaper Eye Weekly's cover photograph the Thursday before the award was presented featured both Cadence and Pallett adopting a mock confrontational pose. The accompanying article, in fact, revealed that Cadence and Pallett had become friends and both really admired each other's records. Cadence and Pallett also performed together on the CBC Radio concert series Fuse in April 2007. He has also been a guest performer on music by other artists, including Super Extra Bonus Party's "Radar" and Shout Out Out Out Out's "Coming Home".[citation needed]

On February 21, 2007, Pemberton announced that he signed an American record deal with Epitaph Records sublabel ANTI-, a move that would give him greater exposure in the United States. As a part of his new deal, Breaking Kayfabe was released in the US on March 13, 2007. In the fall of 2007, Big Dada became Cadence Weapon's representative label in Europe. Cadence Weapon's second LP, Afterparty Babies was released by Anti-/Epitaph on March 4, 2008. In 2008, he also played at ZXZW in the Netherlands.[citation needed]

On May 26, 2009, Cadence Weapon was sworn in as Edmonton's Poet Laureate for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2009, and as such served as an ambassador of the literary arts, as well as creating original works.[2][8]

In 2011, he participated in the National Parks Project, collaborating with musicians Laura Barrett and Mark Hamilton and filmmaker Peter Lynch to produce and score a short film about Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park.[9]

Cadence Weapon released the album Hope in Dirt City on May 29, 2012.[10] The album became his third straight to be nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and second to make the short list.[11] Moreover, the National Post's Jesse Kinos-Goodin and Noah Love described how Drake may be Canada's most commercially successful rapper, but Cadence Weapon is certainly one of the most creative. Hope in Dirt City was short listed as one of their best of albums so far of 2012.[12]

In 2015, Cadence Weapon began a residency on Toronto Independent Radio Station TRP called Allsorts.[13]

His album Parallel World won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Pemberton was based in Montreal for a period of six years in his twenties, which led to collaborations with artists such as Blue Hawaii and Jacques Greene. In 2015, Pemberton relocated to Toronto, which provided inspiration for his 2018 song, "High Rise," that addresses gentrification.[14]


Studio albumsEdit


  • Cadence Weapon Is the Black Hand (2005)
  • Separation Anxiety (2009)
  • Tron Legacy: The Mixtape (2010)


  • "House Music" (2008)
  • "Conditioning" (2012)
  • "When It's Real" (2013)

Guest appearancesEdit


  • Think About Life - "Sweet Sixteen (Cadence Weapon Remix)" (2010)
  • Liars - "Brats (Cadence Weapon Remix)" (2012)


  1. ^ a b c Henley, Tara. "Candence Weapon: It's All About The After Party". Ur Magazine. Rogers. p. 33.
  2. ^ a b c CBC News. "Cadence Weapon becomes Edmonton's poet laureate". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Cadence Weapon wins Polaris Music Prize for ‘Parallel World’". The Globe and Mail, September 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Marie Bartlett (May 28, 2012). "Cadence Weapon releases ground-breaking "Hope in Dirt City"". CBC Music. Retrieved July 25, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Breaking Kayfabe Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "Cadence Weapon Interview". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  7. ^ Tedder, Michael (March 10, 2008). "Q&A with Cadence Weapon". Self Titled Mag. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  8. ^ Richard Helm (May 26, 2009). "Weapon of distinction; Rapper named new Edmonton poet laureate". Edmonton: CanWest Global News. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  9. ^ "National Parks Project". Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  10. ^ "Cadence Weapon Hope in Dirt City".
  11. ^ Alan Ranta (July 25, 2012). "Polaris juror Alan Ranta on why Cadence Weapon could take the prize". CBC Music. Retrieved July 25, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "The best albums of 2012 so far, part 2: Cadence Weapon, Japandroids and more". National Post. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  13. ^ "Allsorts - TRP".
  14. ^ "Cadence Weapon takes aim at the condo boom in new single". 28 May 2018.
  15. ^ "The Eagles (Ft. Cadence Weapon), by The Voltage Heroes". The Voltage Heroes.

External linksEdit