It's taken a while for the ranks of hockey players to catch up with an increasingly diverse fanbase, but it is happening. And Toronto-born Montreal Canadiens defenseman, P.K. Subban, best represents this shift. He's a fan favorite, but for Montreal rapper Wasiu Subban is more than just a great hockey player: he's the face of a city. On "P.K. Subban," premiering today on The FADER, Wasiu likens the hockey star's on-ice skills to his own on the mic and calls attention to the steely strength it takes to navigate on and off-ice discrimination. Producers Noah Barer and Cavewerk give the track, from Wasiu's upcoming MTLIENS 2 project, the jock jam treatment; the bass booms, and the synths drip. It's a rallying call for hockey fans and rap fans—P.K. Subban for the children—and, in his short essay below, Wasiu reminds us that the two groups aren't mutually exclusive.
I was reading The FADER's interview with Drake, and he was saying how incredible it was that Wiz Khalifa made "Black & Yellow," and had the whole world rapping to a song about Pittsburgh. He wanted to do that but for Toronto, which is what inspired "Know Yourself."
I feel the same way. I need to make a hit that everyone is repeating, but paying homage to Montreal at the same time. P.K. Subban is the face of the city, and in many ways I feel like him, so I ran with that. There aren't many black players in the National Hockey League, but P.K. is one of the best active players, period. He's the best on the Montreal Canadiens, and the only black guy on that team as well. In Montreal most rappers are French—not many of us rap in English, so there's that.
When I was young, I went to school with all white people, and it was hard being the only black person there. They're all saying racist shit to you and making you feel inferior. So I had to prove myself to them, not only for me, but for all black people, and to make them feel like, 'Damn, this black kid is winning all the awards and getting the best grades in school.'
You know how it goes. When shit goes bad: blame it on black people. The Canadiens had a bad season, and local media pointed the finger at P.K. It's funny though, because he's the best player and we all know he isn't the problem. Same way when there's violence that occurs at a club or in general, the thinking is to go check on the black people first because they look like they "fit the description"—even if they weren't the ones to start any problems.
In many ways I feel like P.K. and instead of making a song talking about racism, I made a song celebrating him. People are going to have to accept that the face of a white, French city is a black man—whether they like it or not.
This song is lowkey about empowerment and flossing black power by bigging up all of Subban's work. He donated $10 million to the Montreal Children's Hospital, and they built an atrium in his name. The kids love him. Sorry white people, but a black guy represents you—after this song, I hope he's the first person people think of when they think of "Montreal."
Look at the facts: the best player is black, and a black man beat a white man at his own game. Hopefully that continues to happen, in every aspect of the world. We got P.K., Obama, and others to look up to for inspiration in dominating whatever field we enter. Shit, when people think about the best Montreal rapper they probably think about some white dude. We about to change that real quick.
Black Lives Matter, everywhere. We gotta strive for prosperity in every region.