Zambian-Canadian rapper Backxwash has won this year’s Polaris Music Prize for her latest album ‘God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It’. Released back in May of this year, the rapper’s eclectic full-length masterfully blends elements of hip-hop with heavy metal, noise and post-rock.
This year’s live-streamed ceremony featured short films inspired by the artists who were nominated this year, a list which included the likes of Caribou and Kaytranada. You can watch the full ceremony below:
At the end of the final film’s screening, last year’s prize winner Haviah Mighty remotely presented the award to Backxwash, who accepted it over Zoom. A conversation followed with host Saroja Coelho, in which the rapper thanked a slew of friends and collaborators, and discussed the album’s creative process.
“I think all my music was missing was a personal story, and I was afraid to put that on the record. I just pulled the lever and just put that on the record and expressed myself as honestly as possible, because I think the most important thing is to make the music that you want to make, and I felt like I was making the music that I wanted to make,” she explained.
She also discussed how heavy metal inspired the album – which opens with a Black Sabbath sample – saying it was something that was taboo when she was growing up due to its association with Satanism. “As soon as I grew up and started expressing myself and finding out more about myself, I went back to my roots of being a fan of heavy metal, and I just liked the feeling and how cathartic heavy metal is.”
Backxwash’s win is a historic victory, as the first Black transgender artist to win the prestigious Canadian music award.
“My existence itself is already political. My livelihood is political, and the livelihood of my sisters and my brothers is political,” the rapper said.
“We just want rights, and we have to go through so many hurdles to do that, and I feel very connected to that struggle.”