Life After

Life After

The pandemic hit every working musician hard—but it dealt a particularly cruel blow to Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Back in March 2020, the B.C. duo were still riding high on the success of 2019’s Polaris Prize-shortlisted Trapline. And with a follow-up EP, Born Deadly, on deck, Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce were extra-hyped to unleash their Indigenous trap tunes on their first-ever US tour. After the tour was inevitably canceled, it would take months for them to find the will to make music again. “Without being able to perform, it really took a toll on us,” Nyce tells Apple Music. It didn’t help that Nyce was living in his new home city of Toronto while Metz was still back in B.C. By the time the duo finally reconvened IRL on the west coast, the pandemic was starting to affect more than just their workflow—over the winter, Metz’s extended family lost nine members. That sense of despair was compounded in 2021 by the discovery of more than a thousand Indigenous children’s bodies buried at former residential-school sites across Canada. But in response to all of these external tensions, the normally outspoken duo decided to look inward. “As much as we love doing stuff that's politically charged, we just felt like it was time to tell our story about where we come from,” Metz tells Apple Music. Here, they talk through each track on Life After.
“Grave Digger” Quinton Nyce: “When I was a kid, I was bullied pretty hard. I would come home with my brand-new Vancouver Grizzlies jacket covered in crab apple mold because all the older kids used to run me down. And my dad always said, 'Those kids have been taught to hate themselves. And there's no way that I'm going to teach you to feel that way.' So on 'Grave Digger' we're talking about the experiences that we've been going through. When we were young guys on our basketball team, we used to dig graves if someone died in our community. So 'Grave Diggers' is not only symbolic, it's also very literal. It's a great way to start this album, because a lot of it is talking about death and darkness—but in kind of a positive way.”
“Red Sky at Night” QN: “My dad used to be a fisherman, and he would always say, ‘Red sky at night, sailor's delight.’ That meant, ‘There's hope that we can get out on the boat. It's gonna be a great day tomorrow.’ When the idea for this song came through, I was thinking about Colten Boushie and those boys that were killed in Saskatchewan by those farmers, and how our society and our government turned our backs on the way that they were killed. It was offensive as hell, and I wrote a verse. But when I heard the beat for 'Red Sky at Night,' it made me think about the hope in tomorrow. As Indigenous people, you have to think like that.”
“No Jesus Piece” Darren Metz: “With everything that went on this year with all those unmarked mass graves getting found, people think that we hate people that go to church, which isn't true. We just hate what the churches did to our people. So don't get mad at me if I prefer a copper shield over a Jesus piece.”
“If I Die Today” QN: “This is us letting people know that we're only here for a short time, and we're all here to do our part. We come from an oral tradition, and we are natural storytellers. And I feel like hip-hop is a perfect avenue for us to be a part of. And if we can lay the foundation for the people that come after us to be better than us and make this culture evolve, then we did our job. But if we die today, you guys are gonna miss us!”
“Uncle Rico” QN: “Uncle Rico is pretty much everybody at their most confident. As Indigenous youth growing up in a settler society, we were never allowed to love ourselves in a way that we should have. So 'Uncle Rico' is our way of letting the world know that we're here and we love ourselves for who the f**k we are. So we personified that idea in a way, where Uncle Rico is this uncle that everybody has, but at the end of the day, Uncle Rico symbolizes your self-worth and your confidence.”
“Bully Mode” DM: “Like 'If I Die Today,' this track is like, 'Let me talk my s**t.' It seems like just yesterday we were just those kids starting out trying to reach out to people. Now we're kinda in the transition where we still look at the people that we look up to as big brothers, but there's these young'uns coming after us who look at us as big brothers. We've got to accept that role as well.”
“Something Else” QN: “When that whole Trump/Biden election was happening, Indigenous people were labeled as 'something else' on [a] CNN [exit poll graphic]. There were Asians, Black Americans, and then 'something else.' So me and Darren were like, 'We need to write a song called “Something Else”!' We were just laughing at the situation, because at the end of the day, we're used to this racist bulls**t. As Indigenous people, we've been through it for so long that we have to make light of it. We're literally reclaiming the term 'something else.' But we add power to it.”
“Change” (feat. ebonEmpress & Jenny Lea) DM: “My partner put together this writing retreat with a bunch of our artist friends, and this track came out of that. The girl you hear [Jenny Lea] was f**king phenomenal. I made this loop right on the spot for her. The recording was so raw. When we sent it to our engineer, you were still able to hear people walking around and opening the door and checking in. But it was just so pure and in the moment.”
“Deja Vu” QN: “We wanted to tell a story about where we come from, and let people know that it's not all glitter and gold. There was a lot of stuff that we had to deal with growing up. We don't like talking about it; it's not fun.” DM: “Because of the way that we walk and the way that we talk, people think we're spoiled brats, but that's not the case. A lot of us grew up around addiction and trauma. People don't know that side of us, and so we just said, 'F**k it—the time is now.' You never know, there could be a young'un out there who could be 10, 11, 12, going through the same s**t that we did.”
“Wild Boy" (feat. Polo Brian) DM: “Our homie Boogey the Beat sent us this beat, and I tried to replace his melody with words. I've always wanted to do a song inspired by the Bukwus—which is [the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation name for] the Wild Man of the Woods. The picture of a Bukwus is next f**king level—like, the mask is crazy. I was like, 'Okay—you're in a pandemic, you feel like you're losing it a little, so you definitely just need to wild out sometimes.'”
“Sink or Swim” (feat. Just John) QN: "We've been trying to work with Just John for the last three years. And when this beat came up, we were like, 'We got to get Just John on this,' and he killed it. And he did it exactly the way that we wanted it to be. It kind of wrapped up the album in the perfect way. We're just raging.”
“Humble Me” QN: "A lot of people confuse self-confidence with ego, and they often accuse us of being egotistical. But we were never gifted with self-confidence, because of how the Canadian government and society portrayed us and made us out to be. It was always ‘kill the Indian, save the man.’ They colonized us and tried to whitewash us. But my dad always said: ‘Be proud of who you are, be proud of where you come from—without this land that you come from, you ain’t s**t.’ We’ve always been proud of who we are, but when we were younger, it wasn’t quite that way. What we’re trying to do with ‘Humble Me’ is let people know we can still be confident and talk about the success and the life that we’ve been blessed with through making rap music and getting our voices out there.”
“After Dark” QN: “The song is about the fact that there’s more to us than the glitz and glamour of what you see on socials. We are everyday people with everyday struggles. When the lights are out, this is what we think about after dark.”


Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada