Toronto, ON – April 15, 2020 – Following the launch of his powerful video for single, Turtle Island,  last week, Grammy and JUNO Award-winning Indigenous multidisciplinary artist and producer, David Strickland, shares Feathers - a new  song from his forthcoming album, Spirit Of Hip Hopset for release June 29 via Entertainment One. Feathers features Toronto-based Anishinaabe rapper, Que Rock, and Chippewa Travellers. Listen to it here.

The song, Feathers, is about many things. Within the context of Indigenous culture, for many, feathers have a myriad of significances. One teaching is to observe the shaft of a feather; the main central support that runs the entire length of the feather. This is your journey, your lifeline,” David says. “This is the path we strive to remain on, though sometimes we may stray or veer off our respective paths, sometimes completely off the vane of the feather. It happens; however, we can always aim to return to the centre of the feather. The goal is to return to our true purpose: whatever that may be. Restarting or rejoining our journey. Ultimately, returning to ourselves. Essentially, Feathers is a song about hope, journey, reflection, priorities, self-compassion, self-assessment, self-discovery, redemption and ripping flows with letters on some hip hop.”

Que Rock adds, “Feathers describes my lifestyle from Pow Wows to Hip Hop.” 

Feathers follows the album’s first single, Turtle Island. The song features prolific Indigenous rapper, Supaman, Juno Award-winning singer, JRDN, Toronto rap legend Spade (of Citizen Kane), Toronto reggae icon Whitey Don, and Canadian-American rapper, Artson. Directed by Daniel Fortin of  Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures, and filmed by an all-Indigenous team at Six Nations Of The Grand River in Oshweken, Ontario, Turtle Island arrives during a period of uncertainty in the world, yet the song’s messages translate beyond borders, with potent, timely themes. Watch the video here.

The spoken word introduction to the album, Spirit of Hip Hop, as narrated by iconic Indigenous Hip Hop photographer, and David’s longtime mentor, Ernie Paniccioli – you can watch and listen here

As music and visuals continue to draw from the Spirit Of Hip Hop, David has been sharing his story, with recent features in Complex, Hip Hop Canada, ET CanadaSidedoor MagazineCanadian BeatsHip Hop Vancouver, a live chat with RX Music, and an exclusive interview for SiriusXM’s Live @ Home series. David is passionate about the plight of the Mi'kmaq people and recognition of his family lineage can be traced back by five generations. He is committed to restoring the dignity and respect stripped by an unconstitutional agreement that remove and denied Indian status from thousands of people. 

About David Strickland
David “Gordo” Strickland has been quietly lurking behind the scenes as an engineer, a mixer and a producer on Hip Hop and R&B records for the past two decades. His work has graced seminal tracks by the likes of Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, EPMD, Keith Murray, Redman and Method Man. Most crucially, he’s also been involved in records by almost every one of the ground-breaking Toronto hip-hop acts including KOS, Ghetto Concept, Jelleestone, Kardinal, Saukrates, Jully Black, Divine Brown, Glen Lewis, Choclair and Drake. Strickland, who was mentored alongside Noah “40” Shebib by Toronto production legend Noel “Gadget” Campbell, was in on the ground floor for the OVO explosion, turning in Grammy-winning work behind the boards on Drake’s albums Thank Me Later, as well as its monster-hit successors Take Care and Nothing Was the Same.

David was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario and grew up in the infamous Gilder Housing Project. As an Indigenous Canadian with deep family roots running generations back to the East Coast along Mi’kmaq, Innu and Beothuk lines, his family from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and Northern Quebec has strong Cree and  French roots that trace back to Samuel De Champlain. David Strickland is one of the few Indigenous Audio Engineers in North America; recognized in the VICE documentary by Noisey, First Out Here, Indigenous Hip Hop, he continues to be one of the most sought after engineers succeeding at the top of the Canadian music industry and has dedicated his life to the healing power of music.

Strickland diligently maintains an au courant window into his day-to-day passions as they pertain to producing Native artists such as Artson, Drezus, Que Rock, Joey Stylez, Aspects, Hellnback and City Natives to name a few.  He’s become a reverent student of the teachings of Ernie Paniccioli, Cree photographer and Hip Hop Legend. Paniccioli has ventured that the parallels between the African-American history of slavery, oppression and segregation that first gave birth to hip-hop in the U.S. are so analogous to North America’s Indigenous peoples that hip-hop could be viewed as a sort of “reincarnation” of traditional Native culture expressed through 21st-century technology. From his perspective:  “The DJ is the Drummer; the MC is the Storyteller, the B-boy is the Dancer and the Graffiti Artist is the Sand Painter.”

David has taken this philosophy to heart acknowledging that Hip-hop is in his DNA. He became known throughout his music career for drum programming without really knowing why and later realizing that the drum is central to every Native culture. Making his first hand-drum after a traditional ceremony seven years ago the floodgates reopened on an artistic talent he’d buried for many years. He combines these cultural teachings into visual art and over the years developed a unique artistic expression through drawing and painting. To date he has created hundreds of pieces and is currently featured at many galleries across the country including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. He continues to be a positive force in music, the arts and an inspiration to First Nation’s Youth across North America.

The teachings, the art, the traditions and the music a beautiful mix all rooted in the Spirit of Hip-Hop. As David embarks on his first production project a compilation for Entertainment One he tinkers endlessly with the wealth of material at his disposal. The album scheduled for release Spring 2020 is poised to match some of the hungriest and most wildly talented Indigenous rappers from Canada and the U.S. like Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Drezus and Supaman with some of more established international hip-hop greats he’s had the good fortune of working with like Erick Sermon, EPMD and Def Squad. What’s coming will be fresh, filled with sounds that force the listener to “open their eyes and listen”. A powerful message that gives a voice to the voiceless, that encourages Native youth to take hold of a music genre that’s revolutionized the world and use its power to heal, educate and unite. 

Buy/stream Feathers:

Watch Turtle

Pre-order Spirit Of Hip Hop: