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Sinzere’s self-education; The Calgary-based artist uses hip-hop as an outlet for change, self-discovery and education

The first track of Sinzere’s debut, Tabula Rasa, begins with a dramatic vocal introduction.

Appropriately called The Mission, it begins somewhat cryptically. With her voice booming with determination, Sinzere talks about the meaning of the number 13 before referring to American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and outlining the historical, spiritual and personal ambitions of her first album.

“Come in and enjoy the ride … Tabula Rasa,” he says before the track turns into sublime rap with a Tom Waits piano and lyrics that go back centuries to addressing the oppression of the African diaspora.

It’s a suitably epic opening for an artist who has become famous for her epic leanings over the years. But Sinzere says she sees this album, due out on August 5th, as a new chapter.

“It started with me on this journey of finding myself that ultimately led me to that diaspora journey,” she says in an interview with Postmedia from her home in Calgary. “I have had to unlearn a lot of the things I have learned through the education we get here in Canada or simply in the western part of the world. I started learning these things about African prosperity and I started learning a lot about atrocities and a lot about the plots, schemes and conspiracies against the diaspora to get them out of who we really are. ”

In Tricky, a bold centerpiece of the album, Sinzere manages to cover Black-on-Black violence and self-hatred, Rastafarian spirituality, plundering of resources from Africa, slavery, lynchings and attacks on he asked in the American South and institutional racism in a lively burst of rhymes lasting less than three minutes.

It was all the result of Sinzere’s self-education, a deep dive into Africa’s rich history that led her to delve into everything from the work of scholars like Marcus Garvey and controversial historian Yosef Ben-Jochannan to

seeking the prosperity and often overlooked contributions of the Mali Empire and the Ashanti Empire to world trade and commerce.

“There were so many things I didn’t know about my story, which was ultimately why I didn’t know myself,” says Sinzere, who will play Broken City on August 6.

Tabula Rasa in Latin means tabula rasa, based on the theory that human beings are not born with any innate knowledge and must be built through experience, perception and education. Although Sinzere has been a prolific artist for 15 years and never shied away from ambitious projects and proclamations, her 2019 EP Ghetto Gabby was a semi-autobiographical “hip-hopera” concept album and Tabula Rasa’s press release describes her as “Canadian singer female answer to Kendrick Lamar” – says she has spent the last few years reinventing herself and her music.

“I had to erase all preconceptions about myself, just clear the canvas so that I could start over, so I could start over and renew my spirit,” he says. “In this journey of renewal, I had to rediscover myself as a woman, as a woman of color and I also had to rediscover my story through this, which just woke me up with so many things about myself that I didn’t know.”

Sinzere’s mother grew up in Jamaica and her father is from Barbados. She escaped from a somewhat unstable family in Calgary by discovering poetry, which she led to DJing and eventually hip-hop. Her profile has grown steadily over the past few years. She followed well-received energetic sets at Femme Wave and Sled Island making her debut at the Calgary Folk Music Festival a few weeks ago. In 2021, she secured sync license deals that brought her music to CBC’s The Block

and Diggstown and a spot for Sport Chek.

Recorded at the National Music Center with the American artist Epik the Dawn producing remotely, Tabula Rasa contains different styles from the soulful R&B of the piano ballad Uninspired, to the hard-reggae vibe of Generation Degenerate and the soft-grooved soul intro. by Change.

But while the album may represent a journey of self-discovery to clean the slate for Sinzere, he says it also aims to resonate on a larger scale by educating people about their history and the long-term ramifications of oppression and racism.

“When hip-hop was born, it was an outlet for people in the poorest communities; the only means for them to convey to the world the message of what was happening to them, “says Sinzere.” It was also the only outlet for the young artists of the time, the golden age of hip-hop, self-taught and self-taught, The Five Percenters, who learned their stories and were able to grasp their messages and inform their community through hip-hop. So, being such a hip-hop fan and supporter of hip-hop … in the end it was natural for me in my evolution to tell these truths. I am a speaker of truth. In many old catalogs, you can see the evolution where I learn more about myself and then use hip -hop as a way to get in touch with young people and tell them these stories “.

Spotlight: Sinzere will play Broken City on August 6 at 8pm

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2022

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