With a Mohawk-Jamaican heritage and an upbringing off the reserve, Chllly Chase speaks a lot of truth about identity and our current condition as a people, making him perhaps the most controversial rap artist in Six Nations today.
His second album, Pariah, was released in October 2015 and is one that expresses many of his frustrations, criticizing the issues he observes within the community.
Not one to filter his experience of life on the rez as he sees it, the works of Chllly pack a raw punch to those not ready to hear what he has to say, and he totally understands that.
“I hear this all the time – ‘you didn’t grow up here, who are you to say that’ and that’s a salient question, but also I’m just saying it. I just shrug my shoulders, because I get it. I understand it but it’s unfortunate because we collectively disown the individuals that could help us move forward,” said Chllly.
Pariah features Indigenous artists Drezus, Tall Paul, Logan Staats and Jai King-Green. It was self-produced alongside Brody Joseph, who also did the mixing and engineering, and was recorded at Thru the RedDoor Studios.
Chllly performed songs from Pariah when he opened for A Tribe Called Red during the Concert for a Cure last August. “It was awesome because all my performances before that, it was never all people from Six Nations. So to perform it and to see the lyrics register with everyone was really awesome. I’ve never seen a crowd like that in Six Nations, except for A Tribe Called Red,” said Chllly.
As good of a show it was, don’t hold your breath to hear the album performed live again any time soon. “I don’t perform any of the songs because I did the album and it was for me in my life, a period of growth,” said Chllly. “Everything I was writing about, I’m on the other end of that. There are a lot of awesome things about Six Nations, but there are also a lot of bad things too. You recognize it, you get angry about it and then you just learn to accept it.”
“What I used to believe was that music was a vehicle for change. Music could actually change people’s minds and perceptions,” said Chllly. “…but now I find that people don’t care. People have kids to feed, and they got rent to pay. A lot of these ideas are nice, like ‘let’s revolt against Canada’ and ‘let’s be sovereign’ but I still got to go to No Frills and buy groceries. So it’s a tricky situation.”
“The whole purpose of Pariah was to try to get people to think bigger but I realized it was pointless, because people have stuff to do than to sit and think about what it means that we’re speaking English, or if we’ve really been conquered,” said Chllly.
In his continued growth as an artist, Chllly is now looking forward to new projects. He shares his excitement for the launch of his new blog Writing With Teeth on March 1.
“I was posting on Twitter and Facebook and someone would trigger me and I would just rant. Of course, everyone ignores it like ‘here’s Chase clogging up the newsfeed again.’ So I’ve flushed out these ideas and put them into a blog so hopefully people engage with it and spark a dialogue.”
He also plans on releasing an untitled 3 song LP, followed by a full length LP tentatively titled The Encyclopedia of Hot Fire. “Now I like the music more because there’s no aim, I’m just gonna have fun with this and see what happens. I guess it’s a sign of my own maturity,” says Chase.
His music might not be for everybody, but it will speak to those who are open to hearing the truth from his perspective. With undeniable talent as a lyricist, his artistic integrity in tact, and on the path of self-improvement, Chllly Chase continues delve into unchartered territory with whatever he puts out.