Saskatchewan hip-hop? Not only is it a thing, but one of the most exciting emerging artists out of the scene is Samurai Champs, made up of rapper Jeah and r&b singer Merv xx Gotti. The Regina-based duo pull from their Southeast Asian heritage as well as an urban-Canadian identity that creates just the right blend of smooth soul and menacing darkness, evident on the latest single by the pair, “You Know Me” (watch the video below). It’s no secret that the capital city in the province has had its share of issues; according to Statistics Canada, Regina leads the country in crime, with gun infractions up 233 percent and attempted murders up 155 percent in 2016, leaving the burgeoning, close-knit hip-hop landscape a much needed bright spot that gives hope to the region’s cultural future. Samurai Champs’ five-song debut EP, Crayons, has been out for just over a year, and in 2017 they were crowned Urban Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. Next up is a slot this month at SXSW, as they continue to work on a full-length LP. Featured photo by Jonathan Chan.