Montreal rapper Backxwash wins Polaris for best Canadian album
Backxwash, the stage name of performer Ashanti Mutinta, poses in this undated handout photo. Backxwash has won the 2020 Polaris Music Prize for her album "God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It." The project by the Montreal-based transgender female artist was selected by an 11-member jury as the Canadian album of the year based on its artistic merit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Mechant Vaporwave
MONTREAL -- Montreal rapper Backxwash won the Polaris Music Award for Best Canadian Album on Monday.
The Zambian-born, trans artist thus obtained recognition for her work on her most recent album, "God Has Nothing to do With This Leave Him Out of It."
Backxwash, Ashanti Mutinta's stage name, blends gothic elements of rap and metal with her own experiences with faith, family, and queer identity.
Her album features distorted samples of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and "In Heaven," a track from David Lynch's film "Eraserhead."
Ten Canadian artists were competing Monday night for the Polaris Music Prize. Among them, three had already won the prestigious prize of $50,000.
Electronic music composer Caribou, DJ and record producer Kaytranada and singer-songwriter Lido Pimienta have each already won Polaris and were once again in the running for Best Canadian Album of the year.
The winner is chosen by an 11-member jury made up of music journalists and broadcasters who consider the album's artistic merit, regardless of sales or genre.
Other contenders included R&B-pop artist Jessie Reyez, First Nations indie rock band Nehiyawak and artist Witch Prophet, real name Etmet Musa, a Toronto musician of Ethiopian descent.
Other nominees were the US-Girls, an American-Canadian experimental pop group, hip-hop and R&B singer Junia-T, and Pantayo, an all-female ensemble that combines traditional kulintang music from the Philippines with pop influences.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the Polaris music competition commissioned a group of filmmakers to bring each of the 10 named albums to life as short films, instead of holding an in-person gala.
The winner was announced after the presentation, which aired at 8 p.m. on the CBC Gem streaming service, CBC Music's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and CBCMusic.ca/Polaris.
Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty won the award for "13th Floor" last year, becoming the first female rapper to win the Polaris. Other winners include Jeremy Dutcher, Tanya Tagaq and Arcade Fire.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.