Indigenous hip-hop group Winnipeg’s Most returns to stage

After 12 years, local Indigenous hip-hop legends Winnipeg’s Most are gearing up for a reunion show in their hometown.

MCs Tyler Rogers and Billy Pierson – better known as Charlie Fettah and Jon-C – are dedicating their Thursday night concert to late band member, Jamie Prefontaine (also known as Brooklyn) who died in 2015. His family never publicly released Prefontaine’s cause of death.

The group is scheduled to perform at Winnipeg’s Burton Cummings Theatre for the first time in more than a decade.

“It was just kind of the perfect timing of (Brooklyn’s mom) Lori really kind of being on board and pushing for this (and) Craig from Star Chief Promotions asking us,” says Rogers.

“Having that time since we broke up and whatever to heal and grow, and just really look back on the legacy and see what we did … it just felt like the right time.”

Debut album

The group took off in 2010 after releasing their self-titled debut album, mixed by Juno-nominated producer, Stomp. It didn’t take long before they started topping local hip-hop charts.

In just two years, they scored nine Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Awards (now Indigenous Music Awards).

“We recorded the first album in my dining room,” says Rogers. “We recorded it in about two weeks. Stomp left with it, we didn’t have any demos, we had nothing.

“And then, he just started kind of telling us, ‘OK, here’s the single, here’s the name of the group, here you go.’ Then it was just a whirlwind,” Rogers added.

Says Pierson: “We definitely never thought that it was going to be taken the way it was or we certainly never planned that. But we planned to make music, we planned to put our music out, we planned to have our voices heard, and to have it heard on those scales was just overwhelming.”

Group disbanded

The group disbanded in 2013 after Pierson was charged with drug possession. Since then, both Pierson and Rogers say they’ve turned their lives around for the better.

When asked what advice they’d give young, Indigenous musicians, their message was clear: just put yourself out there.

“(My advice to) any young Indigenous musicians that are making music, if they’re creating it in their house, they’re creating it in studios, they’re creating it at their buddy’s house, is to always just put it out,” says Pierson.

Reflecting on their early days, Rogers says despite the controversies they always stayed true to their word.

“It was unapologetic,” he says. “We didn’t hide, we didn’t sugarcoat.

“Not every song was super political or anything, but on the songs that we did explore those darker sides of our lives, we were openly honest – brutally honest.”

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