Super Duty Tough Work - Quiet Strength (Next Door Records): This highly-touted hip-hop combo from Winnipeg recently announced the release of a new album, Paradigm Shift, coming out Sept. 8.
One of the advance tracks and videos is Quiet Strength, and it helps fuel anticipation for the new full-length. In a label press release, frontman Brendan Grey explains that "when I wrote this song, I think even though I was trying to seem optimistic, I was still very much dealing with the grief of losing a number of people who I was quite close to. I think that’s a recurring theme on this record that I didn’t really see until it was finished.
"In my mind, originally, I was like, ‘yeah this record is about opposing the system and partying and showing how fly we are and all that.’ But when I started to listen to a lot of the lyrics, there were so many references to being sad and crying and shit, I was like, damn, I was really depressed (laughs). At the same time, I think those are things to some degree that many people can relate to, right? Managing grief can be tricky, and everyone copes in different ways, so I wanted to write something that would be familiar and somewhat comforting to anyone who might be listening while still being personal to me and all my people.”
In the video, Grey says, “This was a really fun video to make. This beat always felt like floating to me, like being on a cloud. So that's the vibe we were going for with the video: floating through the streets on a couch/cloud. The couch itself is just kind of a symbol of inactivity or being stuck. I feel that culturally there's the idea of needing to ‘get off the couch and do something!’ like the couch itself is some kind of barrier between realising one's potential or not. Everything is there for a reason, even if just to add some personal meaning for myself or those around me.”
Quiet Strength begins with some spoken word from US feminist writer Audre Lorde, then Grey steps up to the mic. Atop sparse beats and a jazzy groove, he delivers a fluent and rhythmic flow, delivering his message with real flair.
After being a live show-only act for years, Super Duty Tough Work released a debut EP, Studies in Grey, in Sept. 2019. Eight months later Studies in Grey received a Polaris Prize nod in the form of a Long List nomination, followed shortly thereafter with a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Best Rap & Hip Hop Artist.
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat
Management: Elise Roller, Misfit Music Management