GRAMMY AND JUNO-AWARD WINNING INDIGENOUS PRODUCER DAVID STRICKLAND RELEASES VIDEO FOR TURTLE ISLAND
FILMED AT SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER
FEATURING SUPAMAN, ARTSON, SPADE, JRDN AND WHITEY DON
FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM SPIRIT OF HIP HOP
OUT JUNE 29 VIA ENTERTAINMENT ONE – PRE-ORDER
WATCH SPIRIT OF HIP HOP WITH ERNIE PANICCIOLI
Toronto, ON – April 9, 2020 – After the launch of his powerful new single, Turtle Island, legendary Grammy and JUNO Award-winning Indigenous multidisciplinary artist and producer, David Strickland, unveils the video today. Directed by Daniel Fortin of Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures, and filmed 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.
“It was an honour to be part of this project. The timing of this song is so important, and I’m blessed to be part of David’s message,” says director, Daniel Fortin. “I am grateful and have nothing but love for such a hard working crew, dancers, drummers and of course the incredible group of artists I was able to spend some time with.”
Turtle Island is from David Strickland’s forthcoming album, Spirit Of Hip Hop, which is set for release on June 29 via Entertainment One, and is a community-driven track that features Juno Award-winning singer JRDN, Toronto rap legend Spade (of Citizen Kane), Toronto reggae legend Whitey Don, Toronto and US indigenous rapper Artson and American Indigenous rapper, Supaman, David calls the song “a state of the union” and commentary on life in 2020 on Turtle Island (a name many Indigenous People use referring to North America) for Indigenous, Afro-Indigenous and Africans, either stolen or of the diaspora. It comments on the increasing divide between the rich and the poor, and the injustices towards Indigenous people that continue to be hidden in plain sight, while they are marginalized. Turtle Island combines David’s musical influences, including traditional, dancehall & hip hop giving it a uniquely rich sound.
The song premiered via Complex Canada, and was released with a spoken word introduction to the album, Spirit of Hip Hop, as narrated by iconic Indigenous Hip Hop photographer, and David’s long-time mentor, Ernie Paniccioli. Watch the video here, and listen to Turtle Island.
Turtle Island was released on David’s daughter’s seventh birthday on a rare numerical occasion (2/20/2020). On the date, David comments, “I chose this date in her honour, it contains four 2s in it, which signifies strength, resolve, indicates empowered commitments, emotional stability and the fulfillment of sacred contracts. That significance rings true on the journey I took creating this song and album. Full Circle.”
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 striped 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 has revolutionized the world and use its power to heal, educate and unite.
David's passionate about the plight of the Mi'kmaq people and recognition of his family lineage can be traced back 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. The debut single from the album is Turtle Island featuring Supaman, Artson, Spade, JRDN & Whitey Don. This song is a state of the union on modern daily life for Indigenous People across North America mixing traditional dancehall & hip hop into a uniquely rich sound that’s rarely been heard like this before.
Pre-order Spirit Of Hip Hop: ffm.to/turtleisland
Watch Turtle Island (feat. Supaman, Artson, Spade, JRDN and Whitey Don): youtu.be/vlN5yxxwMsM
Watch Spirit Of Hip Hop (feat. Ernie Paniccioli): bit.ly/2y2BNnf
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