Name: Christian Takes Gun Parrish, aka “SupaMan”
Where He’s From: The Crow Indian Reservation near Billings, Montana
When He Started: 2005
Sounds like: A crowd of B-boys chilling around a bonfire
Hailing from the Crow Nation, Native American champion dancer and MC SupaMan infuses the best of the ‘90s New York hip-hop style with auditory collages that reflect the rich heritage of the Apsaalooké people. Alongside samples of Biggie Smalls, SupaMan envelopes his verses in layers of sound, like drums, bells, and even bird calls. Spitting clever wordplays with a gritty delivery, he skips and jumps from quip to quip, inducing both laughter and thought-provoking reflections on issues like racism and drug abuse. But he’s not afraid to reveal his sensitive side, whether it’s by inviting a choir of children to sing on “LiL Love”, or by praising God, his wife and kids. He may bust some hard-hitting bars, but he’s as much a humble family man as he is SupaMan.
Having disavowed his old lawbreaking shenanigans in a 2011 interview with NPR, SupaMan often urges his audiences to understand the harsh realities of poverty and mass incarceration before turning to crime. ”Why do everybody wanna be a gangsta?” He asks listeners in “Hunger Pains,” teaming up with Bronx rapper Chino XL to forge a connection between the inner city and the Great Plains. By sampling KRS-One’s 1993 declaration, “We will be here forever,” the song “Hunger Pains” is an uplifting call not just to his own people, but for all downtrodden people, to remain strong in the face of the struggle.
Last month the Billings Gazette hosted SupaMan in an extraordinary live studio performance. Decked out in full feathered powwow regalia, he shows us his moves, even throwing in the Robot for good measure. With a loop pedal he piles on live drum beats, beatboxing, a flute and tracks of traditional folk singing. Check out his performance of “Prayer Loop Song” below: