INTERVIEW: SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDS TALK NEW ALBUM 'LIFE AFTER,' RESILIENCY THROUGH HARDSHIPS, FURTHERING INDIGENOUS ALLYSHIP + MORE

Photo by: Brendan Meadows
Snotty Nose Rez Kids explore Life After a global pandemic with their aptly-titled forthcoming album.

Originally from Kitimaat Village, British Columbia, the Vancouver-based duo's fourth full-length release was born from personal experience – navigating the highs and lows of the past few years. From the release of their 2019 album TRAPLINE to playing 100 shows in that same year; nods and wins for various awards (WCMA's, JUNOS, Indie's, Polaris); and landing their first 23 city headline US tour, Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” were elated with the expectation of a breakout year ahead in 2020. 

Instead, the pandemic derailed their tour plans, stunted the release of their EP Born Deadly and amplified a feeling of isolation within their Indigenous communities. What came from 16 months of solitude – as Yung Trybez recalls, was an opportunity to reflect, recharge and turn a dark time into an enlightening hip-hop record:

“I guess this album is kind of just letting people know that there is more life after traumatic experiences and it took this pandemic for us just to kick those emotions into gear.”


With a title meant to be an unfinished phrase with multiple possible meanings, Life After is centered around the concept of what comes next – Life After a pandemic, depression and loss, opening a conversation on themes of  addiction, mental health, family struggles and racism. While the meaning behind the album is deeply personal to SNRK, they hope listeners can personalize the meaning for themselves and their own experiences as well.

The album’s most pertinent lyrics involve the duos’ relationship to Canada and religion – both of extreme significance, given the recent uncovering of unmarked graves across the country. With Canada recognizing the first National Day For Truth and Reconciliation, SNRK recognize the small steps we are taking as a nation but Young D reiterates that there is so much more that needs to be done.

“We weren’t asking for a holiday; we were asking for truth and reconciliation. Before we even talk about reconciling, we need to acknowledge the truth.”


Echoing the need for real change, Yung Trybez wants to see supporting action behind spoken promises:

“I think it comes from a higher up. I think the communities that don’t have drinking water need clean drinking water. It’s a human right to have that and it’s kind of embarrassing that we don’t.”


Though deeply personal and consistently conscious, it wouldn’t be a SNRK record without anthemic beats to keep peoples’ spirits up. From start to finish, Life After continues to deliver music that moves you and simultaneously makes you want to move.

“We just make music for our people and something that they can listen to and feel good – make them feel good about themselves and who they are and where they come from and hope that it teaches other people that aren’t from our community a little bit about us.” (Yung Trybez)


With a fresh album, new music videos and tour dates booked until the end of 2021, Yung Trybez and Young D are back and looking forward to what's next.

Q: After the past two years, Life After comes as a vastly relatable collection – what in your own lives inspired the tracks?


Young D: I mean, it was just going through the pandemic. Before that, we were living a pretty fast-paced life – we were travelling damn near every week and we had a hell of a year lined up in 2020 and all of that changed – just shut right down when the pandemic hit. It was basically us having to deal with everything that we’ve been avoiding – whether it’s spiritually, mentally, emotionally, because when you’re on tour it’s just go, go, go, go all the time, right? But this one had us actually sit down and dig deep with the stuff we’ve been ignoring and that’s how this album came about.

Yung Trybez: We look at the pandemic as a pretty traumatic experience, especially when it comes to artists like us where music is our life and we need people to be involved – coming to shows and stuff like that. So, for us it was pretty bad news to have this pandemic come through. As far as the career side of it goes, it put us to a really fast stop. It felt like it was going to end our career for a second there. I guess this album is kind of just letting people know that there is more life after traumatic experiences and it took this pandemic for us just to kick those emotions into gear. Also, for this whole album – like Darren said, we got to sit down with our emotions and our feelings and ourselves and really deal with shit that we never dealt with in a long time – stuff from our past and growing up. We got to deal with that through this pandemic. There were some pretty dark times and we were forced to reflect on those experiences that we’ve had. Whereas – if it wasn’t for the pandemic, we might not have had to face that because life was so fast-paced, you could just ignore all that.

Q: With content born from difficult topics and personal lows, to what can you credit your resilience and ability to turn negative experiences into solid and insightful hip hop music?


Young D: Family and community. Even throughout the pandemic, we were able to still do music even though it kind of knocked us on our ass the first little while. Once we got a better understanding of the pandemic, we really just relied on each other, we relied on our family and our community.

Yung Trybez: You said it perfectly there, we fell back on small circles and worked with a lot of close friends on music, my friend Nimkish made an album and we hung out a lot. We have our partners out here that we got to spend a lot of time with, whereas we never would’ve gotten that opportunity if we were touring. So, we did take it with a grain of salt and tried to make the best of it because who knows when the next time we’ll get to spend this much time at home is. That kind of got us through it too.

Q: Your latest single is called “No Jesus Piece,” can you talk about the meaning behind the track?


Young D: That song came about last year and we just started thinking about where we’re from and with everything going on this year with the unmarked graves getting discovered. As we grow older, we continue to evolve and grow into ourselves that much more and we just wanted to rep where we’re from, you know? Where we’re from – yeah it’s cool, we rock chains too but sometimes I just prefer my copper shield. It’s just repping where we’re from and we know that there’s people that aren’t going to like us for whatever reason – even if it’s just us being us or whatever the case may be, but we’re still going to be ourselves.

Yung Trybez: It’s just us being true to who we are.

Q: Your indigenous roots are consistently at the forefront of your music and your message, how important is it for you to use your art as a means of representation and education?


Young D: It’s everything. We do what we can – we’re still learning, we’re still growing when it comes to our culture and our traditions and our language, it’s who we are. We just want to be able to let the youngins know – and every generation coming after us, to be proud – be loud and just be who you are. Love the skin that you’re in.

Yung Trybez: We never really had a lot of artists like us growing up – at least not that we knew of. We just make music for our people and something that they can listen to and feel good – make them feel good about themselves and who they are and where they come from and hope that it teaches other people that aren’t from our community a little bit about us. When we make our music, we paint our own picture and tell the story the way it was meant to be told and if people can tune into our music and enjoy it, that’s even better for us. First and foremost, our music is for our people and anyone else who is onboard with us, we’re open arms.

Q: This year, Canada recognized the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, how do you suggest we can demonstrate genuine and purposeful allyship to help create real change?


Young D: That day was a step in the right direction, but it was the tiniest of baby steps in the right direction. We weren’t asking for a holiday; we were asking for truth and reconciliation. Before we even talk about reconciling, we need to acknowledge the truth – the truth comes before that. What came with that was, some people did take the time on that day to say “I’m going to sit down, I’m going to read, I’m going to educated myself” and there’s other people that were like “hey, long weekend.” It’s a step in the right direction but it’s the babiest of steps.

Yung Trybez: I think it comes from a higher up. I think the communities that don’t have drinking water need clean drinking water. It’s a human right to have that and it’s kind of embarrassing that we don’t. For the communities that don’t, they need that and I think we just need to start seeing action when things are being said. So, everybody that’s fighting on the front lines of Wet’suwet’en territory out here and fighting on the pipelines and stuff like that, I think we should be looking at supporting them more and having more allies out there with them.

Q: Are there any stand-out Canadian-based resources or non-profits surrounding indigenous rights and causes that you can suggest checking out?


Young D: Tiny House Warriors. The troops out in Wet’suwet’en.

Yung Trybez: Wet’suwet’en Strong. There’s stuff going on on the island too with the loggers and cutting down trees on the land. There’s many from coast to coast.

Q: With live music finally coming back and a SNRK tour happening, what can fans expect from a live performance that can’t be achieved digitally?


Young D: It’s just getting to have that interaction with a live audience. Throughout this pandemic, a lot of artists like ourselves have done live streams or pre-recorded live stream shows – which is cool but not the same as having the crowd. Feeding off the energy the crowd gives you or vice versa – they feed off the energy that we give them. I can’t speak for anybody else but I know personally, I kind of took that for granted at the end of 2019 but coming out of this pandemic, we aren’t taking shit for granted anymore.

Yung Trybez: I find a lot of SNRK shows – for people that have never been, are a lot of energy. We put a lot of pride into our sets. I feel like a lot of our music has been curated towards coming out for live shows and bringing that energy. When we put together setlists – like we’ve been putting together this last week, it really is something special. It’s us showing you a piece of who we are.