Relying on the potency of silky bass lines and honey-soaked horns, paired with exacting lyrics about sky-high ambitions, this eight-piece hybrid rap-jazz-R&B group from Winnipeg channels the beating heart of ‘90s East coast hip-hop into thrilling live performances. In 2020, Super Duty Tough Work’s debut EP, Studies in Grey, was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.

SDTW is self-described as “golden era taste, current era based,” with globally sourced players drawn from as far as Argentina, and a melodic machinery built into their sound that pays homage to visionaries of ‘90s boom-bap — Gang Starr, Digable Planets, and A Tribe Called Quest — all of whom were adept at capturing the spirit of the social zeitgeist with a single biting lyric.

“(It’s all) Black resistance music,” explains frontman Brendan Grey. “It doesn’t always have to be overt. You don’t always have to make a statement. Sometimes it’s just the act. That’s the tradition that Super Duty Tough Work comes out of.”