Lakota rapper Frank Waln with some of the co-stars of his video for 'My Stone,' which was filmed for the MTV special 'Rebel Music: Native America.' Source:

Life Is So Great! 12 Uplifting Hip Hop Videos by Native Americans


The musical genre known as hip hop often gets a bad, well, rap, so to speak. Sure, much of it is consumed by boasting, vulgarity and thuggery—for many rappers, that's the whole mission, a mission they accomplish quite well.

But hip hop also has the potential to be inspiring, even transcendent. The stories of personal struggle or social issues, delivered in plainly-stated poetry, can be quite touching and relatable; then the catchy, often soaring, chorus comes in, and the effect is unique in popular music.

RELATED: 12 Tracks of Native Hip Hop That Crush Emerson Windy's "Peace Pipe"

Writing about music is, they say, like dancing about architecture—and why would you, the reader, want to read a bunch of words about the music when you can just listen to the damn music? Here are 12 tracks of hip hop by Native artists—more like 10 tracks of hip hop and two spoken-word pieces set to music, if you want to be a stickler—that might just raise your spirits.

"I Believe," Cree Nation Artists

A unique musical project, the N’we Jinan Eeyou Istchee Tour brought Montreal rapper David Hodges together with young people from Cree communities within the province of Quebec; what started as music workshops resulted in an album. There's much, much more to this story, and you can learn about it at the official N'we Jinan site as well as at the Cree Nation Youth Council site. The album is available on iTunes.

"I'm never gonna let it get the best of me
Stay true, stay real, that's the recipe
Even when you're down and out, got no energy
Just look to the sky, let yourself fly free"

Quese IMC, "Life So Great"

Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're Quese IMC.

"Life so great, music so great, ladies so great, man, we so great
Feels so great to be so great, so please don't hate 'cause our cause be great"

Frank Waln, "My Stone"

Waln has called this song a "birthday gift" to his mother.

"I know I ain't home and your boy has grown
I need you to know that you're not alone
I can let it rock, you will be my stone
Forever in my heart you will be my stone"


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