Cadence Weapon ft. Grandtheft - "Press Eject" Video

Rapper, producer, author, and former poet laureate Rollie Pemberton better known as Cadence Weapon announces his sixth studio album, ROLLERCOASTER, arriving April 19th via MNRK Music. In conjunction, he presents the first single "Press Eject" and announces a North American tour kicking off this coming spring. Having emerged as an artist who gave voice to issues of systemic inequality and racial disparity, particularly among Canada’s Black communities, with his 2021 Polaris Prize-winning fifth album Parallel World, Cadence Weapon returns with a sense of urgency, addressing the dizzying contradictions of modern culture and technology with both precision and irreverence.
The hyperpop and electro-inspired production of ROLLERCOASTER is intended to replicate the internet’s "sensory overload". With credits including the likes of Grandtheft, Jacques Greene, Machinedrum, Cecile Believe, Martyn Bootyspoon, Loraine James, Taydex, Wesley Singerman, myst milano, and Harrison, Pemberton has organized a combination of tried-and-true Canadian collaborators and “fellow Black weirdos,” as Pemberton puts it, to execute his vision. Acoustic interludes from Bartees Strange break up the discord, reminding listeners that they can get back to a more "organic" mindspace, and that maybe they should, indeed, touch grass. “He was this siren beckoning you into the album", Pemberton says, "this mysterious voice that you hear every so often".
With "Press Eject", the anthemic, techno-revolt lead single, we see Pemberton rejecting the rules of the internet and reminding listeners of their agency. "I don’t wanna play your game [...] / Don’t wanna pay for the space that I made / It works better when you post your face,” he sings over corrosive drums and squelching electronics. “I wanted to write an anthem for people who are fed up with the way the Internet has become,” he explains. "I want to remind people that there are platforms that have come and gone, because they’re vulnerable if we aren’t on them. I’m encouraging everyone to be more empowered and thoughtful about how we engage with social media. Maybe we can create a better situation for ourselves". 


With ROLLERCOASTER, Pemberton expands his incisive commentary to the sprawling internet a former utopian playground that’s turned into a capitalist junkyard—to remind users they don’t have to just "go along for the ride", he says. The impetus for the project was a February 2022 trip to Los Angeles, where Pemberton witnessed technology’s growing influence on society, as seen through the "optimization" of every human interaction and transaction. "I was observing parallels between the fraudulence of certain institutions and the fake news of the internet", he explains. “With bots and people being willfully false for profit, the internet has led to a total obfuscation of reality".
There, Pemberton began to craft the songs of ROLLERCOASTER, a polemic against the internet’s growing chaos. It exhibits his growing skills in merging socio-political commentary and insurgent rap with humor and pop sensibility, resulting in an album that builds a world in and of itself. Throughout, he raps of the adrenaline rush that comes with online shopping ("Exceptional") or being sucked into an information wormhole ("My Computer") and the anxious mania of maximizing productivity to crippling effect (“Alarms”). His vivid tableaus of red notification bubbles, GIF memes, and bad faith arguments straddle the line between thrilling and horrifying, serving as a cautionary tale. "These platforms are designed to make us really angry, hate each other, and eventually make us hand over our money", he explains. "It’s becoming inherently more extractive. People talk about my music as being dystopian, but it’s just reality, baby".
Despite its bleak portrait of today’s digital attention economy, ROLLERCOASTER still fits into a long lineage of Black electronic artists using music to forge Black futures much like the seminal Detroit techno duo Drexicya, whom Pemberton references on the album. (“On a wave like James Stinson, better pay attention,” he raps on “Lexicon.”) It goes hand-in-hand with his work outside of music, as he frequently uses his platform to shed light on musicians rights and financial realities. He recently spearheaded the #MyMerch campaign with UMAW (Union of Musicians & Allied Workers) and FAC (Featured Artists Coalition), which seeks to eliminate venues taking merch cuts from artists. “I feel I have a responsibility to use my skills to help people and build organizational power for other artists and music workers,” he says. By illuminating the current issues of the world, Pemberton inspires others to join him in the fight for a better one. 
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