His name is Chris Parrish, aka Supaman. Chris is an Apsaalooke (Crow) Nation rapper who has blended his style of rap with traditional Native American costume and pow-wow dancing.
Parrish has mastered the technology of music-making along with an understanding of the intricacies of Native American cultural performance.
In March, he was named Artist of the Week by MTV‘s ‘Iggy’ blog, a site that highlights the best new music. But Parrish has had a deep appreciation for rap music for some time. He told NPR in 2011, “Native Americans grasp that culture of hip-hop because of the struggle.” He says, “Hip-hop was talking about the ghetto life, poverty, crime, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy; all that crazy stuff that happens in the ghetto is similar to the reservation life. We can relate to that.”
On his Crow Nation reservation in southeastern Montana, Parrish says he saw a lot of “crazy stuff” as a kid. Estranged from his alcoholic parents, he grew up in foster homes, and he recalls how he and his young friends would try to “act out” themes in rap music to imagine a better life.
He told NPR, “We would play the part, you know. We were wannabees, trying to be, like, these rappers on the rez. So we started doing the crime, robbing, went into houses and trade the merchandise and then get weed from the merchandise, and then started selling.”
Supaman says he got lucky — he was never caught breaking the law, and as his music career gained momentum, it seemed hip-hop could be his ticket to a better life. Parrish was luckier still when a record label in Seattle took an interest in his career and he started touring. While on the tour, he found himself drifting away from his wife and kid back home, took up spiritual guidance in the Bible and discovered a righteous path. This led to his inspiring rap lyrics, which have become the trademark of his persona.
So far, the performance artist Facebook page “Supaman” has gotten 7,545 likes, and his personal page “Christian Parrish” has 8,340 followers.
In this Youtube video, Supaman performs “Prayer Loop Song,” which is a strong example of the artistry of this Native American rapper.
So, Grio Fam, what do you think of Supaman’s work? Let us know by leaving a comment below.