Mato Wayuhi Will Not Simmer Down
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Scatterbrain album cover - Mato Wayuhi
A new release from musician, filmmaker, and spoken word artist Mato Wayuhi greets the world this week, and if you don’t know Mato yet, you’re running out of time to say you knew him before he became a household name.
Scatterbrain - album back cover Mato Wayuhi
“Scatterbrain” is the latest release from the Oglala Lakota musician. Raised in Sioux Falls, he left the area for college in southern California and has been exploring themes of identity, art, and racial expectations in music and filmmaking ever since.
His music video for “Wildberry Poptart” secured him a spot on NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest roster of favorites. His "Moment in Sound" appearance for SDPB Radio remains a fan favorite. Now his new music video “Hooky” pushes his artistry even further.
The video features Mato with cropped hair and his signature subversive playfulness. The lyrics to “Hooky” challenge and mesmerize. He raps about his ability to “massacre the mic” while seated at a dinner table with Native Americans in traditional clothing (while Mato wears a suit jacket and white shirt). The song explores themes of oppression and oil pipeline construction and art making.
Mato Wayuhi’s musical and visual innovation is unshackling more than historical trauma. He is not so much reinventing himself as he is revealing and realigning, even as he shatters expectations of what it means to be indigenous and what it means to be an artist.
“Don’t you dare tell us to simmer down,” the song declares.
It’s far more likely listeners will ask Mato Wayuhi to turn it up.