Snotty Nose Rez Kids Talk Shad’s Remix of “Red Sky at Night”

Shad has released a remix of Snotty Nose Rez Kid's track "Red Sky at Night". Complex Canada talked to the Rez Kids, Shad, and producer Taabu about it.

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What does the host of Hip-Hop Evolution think of First Nations rappers Snotty Nose Rez Kids’ rise? Shad conducted copious research and interviews for the Peabody award-winning documentary series to chronicle the history of artists that “took hip-hop, which was born in New York, and authentically incorporated it with their local culture. And also, obviously, had something to say. I definitely see Snotty Nose Rez Kids as being part of that tradition,” Shad told Complex Canada about his fellow Canadian MCs and latest collaborators.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids gave equally enthused kudos to “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home” rapper while describing their collaboration with him on the remix of their song “Red Sky At Night,” which dropped today, March 25.

Black and white 2022 press photo of Snotty Nose Rez Kids

The duo—comprised of Darren “Young” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce, who just wrapped gigs at SXSW—told Complex Canada in a joint statement about being “fans of Shad’s music and his love for hip-hop for a minute.” They recalled chatting with him and inviting him to hop on a track at the Polaris Prize Gala in 2019 (Shad’s been shortlisted for that prize four times, a feat the Rez Kids have pulled off twice). When their team sent him the track, “he showed us mad love when he heard it, and sent us a verse back a little late when it came to getting it on the original [song], but that’s what remixes are for! His verse was recorded before we even thought about ours, and he set the damn bar!”

Young D and Yung Trybez rose to the occasion, however, spitting searingly socially conscious rhymes for the remix over Toronto producer Taabu’s inferno of an instrumental. Young D raps about growing his hair not only in his tribe’s tradition but also for every residential school child “that was tooken” and for missing and murdered Indigenous women (rhyming both phrases with a tongue tumbling deftness, no less). From there, he disses trucker convoys. Yung Trybez, meanwhile, raps about the mental health crisis gripping reservations across Canada, exuding multitudes within a few lean lines. He then chants defiant bars about Indigenous survival and resilience.

Those bars certainly impressed Shad once he heard the finalized remix. But he expected nothing less. “I can always hear, in their lyrics, references to their culture, community and spirituality. It just feels very grounded in something real. There’s a real purpose to their music,” he said. And yet, the duo didn’t stop at achieving such noble aims according to Shad, who added: “The song feels urgent, but also has a sense of excitement and hype.” The veteran rapper strived for equally triumphant themes on the track, spitting a succinct but impactful line about the Rez Kids, and a number of other Indigenous artists, strolling red carpets to accept recent accolades.

Such levity balances Shad’s news column-esque bars about corporate giants like the Westins and Irvings not having claim to the earth, much less a right to pollute it. It’s certainly a pivotal time to be—and to collaborate with—socially conscious MCs, one that Shad says is leaving us to “rethink some fundamental things like ‘Who are we?’ ‘What’s our relationship to the land?’ and ‘What can we be proud of as a society?’”


These elements make the remix a worthy sequel to the original “Red Sky At Night.” A standout from their acclaimed 2021 album Life After, that song was spurred on by the hypocrisy Snotty Nose Rez Kids saw in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with the tragedies behind the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry and the Colten Boushie case. At the time, Yung Trybez stated “there’s no reconciling without exposing those truths.”

“The juxtaposition of the hook and verses inspired me to tap into themes of melody and harmony, as well as synthetic aggression and rhythm.”

As powerful as that early version of the song was, the Rez Kids knew what they wanted for the remix: to “bring something different and make it feel complete.” That meant changing everything but the lyrics of the old “Red Sky At Night’s” hook. The duo said: “Content-wise, it felt like it was in Shad’s lane. So when he sent his verse back, we knew we had to write another verse each to really make a statement. The hook was a vibe in its own right on the original, so we decided to reach out to Taabu to see what he could bring to the table for the beat. We really didn’t want anything to sound the same as the original.”

Sonically, Taabu was up to the task. That’s because “the Rez Kids always come with the strongest vocal deliveries; lyrically, technically and artistically. That calibre of musicianship is inspiring in itself,” the Toronto producer (of Haviah Mighty’s “Wishy Washy” fame) said. He added that the message of this remix held so much weight for him, he instantly knew the “production had to match the power and impact of the vocal delivery. The juxtaposition of the hook and verses inspired me to tap into themes of melody and harmony, as well as synthetic aggression and rhythm.”

For the original “Red Sky At Night,” Yung Trybez was inspired by his father being part of a proud Indigenous fishing lineage. He’d tell his son “red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” which Yung Trybez said “means tomorrow will be a good day. So for me, when I put together the concept of that song, I meant that there’s hope in tomorrow.” 

Now, the remix marks a new start for the Rez Kids. Or, as they put it: “This will close the final chapter on music from Life After as we head off on the Life After North American Tour.”

For more information on those tour dates, click here.

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