Underappreciated Musician of Color #7: Litefoot
Tisket the tasket, tasket the tusketAs the first known Native American to perform rap music, Litefoot's social and musical accomplishments have been woefully underappreciated outside the Native American music scene.
An arrow don't compare with the white man's musket
I seen 'em comin' thick as syrup
Thousands and thousands they bailed here from Europe
...So forget wut ya heard in ya school book
Forget a treaty I still call 'em all crooks
Our reservations, the apology, anthropology
Shows the truth but they still won't acknowledge me
And now they talkin' this "my country 'tis of thee"
And my people, they people went through misery
Raped our women, they killed our children
Replaced all the greenery with concrete buildings
And make me feel like I'm less than a man
And make me carry ID to prove who I am
And now they wanna be a friend again
Damn...you better run from this Indian
~Litefoot, "My Land"
Born of Cherokee and Chichimeca blood, Litefoot is a Seattle-based rapper who began what he termed "Tribalistic Funk" after recognizing similarities in African American and Native American struggles, and seeking to combat stereotypes (so naturally, he get's my POC-Understanding-Each-Other award). His music combines various style of Native American music with different funk and hip-hop styles (he's a glorious lyricist, by the way). Unapologetic, his ancestral pride unflinching, Litefoot's voice (and body) is truly a force to be reckoned with.
TV & films, won multiple music awards, and spends several months working on reservations throughout the US & Canada (he's currently on tour promoting his new album; I believe he's currently in - or will soon be in - Quebec).
At 40 years young, Lifefoot keeps doing what he does best, and I hope he's still soldiering on in decades to come. His new album has plenty of swag for all you mainstream purist types, but it also has rich musical layers and content with depth.
As for Moi, I hope to one day get to actually attend the Native American Music Awards. I'm quite ticked they don't get nearly as much coverage as they should.