Red Lake Reservation Rappers Get Shine on Vice and Apple Music The Score Documentary

Ojibwe Red Lake Reservation residents

Red Lake, Minnesota is little known to much of the rest of the world, but there are aspiring hip hop artists there challenging the boundaries of what Americans think about "the ghetto", chronicling the violence and struggle of life on the rez in their music. Some YouTube viewers got a sample of that earlier today from an ad in a new advertisement about a documentary called The Score.

The Score is a partnership between mega corporate giant, Apple (based in California) and Digital Publishing phenomenon Vice (based in Brooklyn). The ad shows a snapshot of an interview with Native American rappers from a crew in Red Lake, even showing cars with gunshot holes and a statement from one of the members of the crew.

"This IS the ghetto," the young man in the video passionately and aggressively stated.

Rappers from the Red Lake area previously opened for headlining act, Yelawolf at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minnesota. The show was mayhem, but a lot of fun and brought great exposure to Rez Rap, a group from the Red Lake area - Indian reservation territory.

Reservations are not governed by the laws of the state of Minnesota and are only oversaw by Federal bureaus of "Indian Affairs". These territories within the state have their own tribal leadership structures, but many are secluded with little industry, outside investment or economic opportunity and there exists a systemic history of racial and ethnic division and mistrust of the government. There are also local feuds that have often ended in bloodshed and death. Red Lake was devastated a decade or so ago by a school shooting. There have been numerous instances in the community of murder, assaults, home invasions, robberies, drugs and other crimes but have largely not been reported by the media. The rap group is now able to expand their platform and tell their story, with the help of Vice and Apple, and of course their fans.

According to TechCrunch, in a followup to a press release from Vice, the Red Lake Reservation Hip Hop documentary is first on the list to be featured in the series of six documentaries. They also reported that a techno scene from South Africa would be in another episode. The Star Tribune also quickly followed up with a story about the series.

Apple Music is quickly trying to harness more online revenue from its streaming platform as popularity and competition is becoming fierce in the space. Vice is a great platform to make the connection with the culture that pays attention to worldwide trends.

"All that bad energy feeds us and right at the minute we just grab our pen and pads," says one tribe member of the Ojibwe in Red Lake.