By Dawn Turner Trice | April 22, 2014
Frank Waln and his mother used to go for long walks on their South Dakota reservation. One evening about a decade ago, when Waln was 12, he saw an object in a ditch that caught the last bit of sunlight.
It was a CD, and although it was terribly scratched, Waln took it home and played it. The disc skipped a few times, but soon rapper Eminem was telling his story of growing up white and poor in Detroit.
By Zaron Burnett III | November 8, 2015
You may not know the name Frank Waln. I could tell you that he’s a 26-year old Sicangu Lakota rapper from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. I could tell you that he’s an award-winning artist, a globe-trotting emcee and producer. I could tell you that he’s a Native-American leader and activist who’s been integral in the struggle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from risking the health of his people. But let’s reframe how we think about this young man. Because he is something new.
By Braudie Blais-Billie | January 13, 2016
In today’s music industry, 26-year-old hip-hop artist Frank Waln is often described as a “Native American rapper” or “activist” — a figure who seems to effortlessly draw people in with his long braids, colorful production, and award-winning storytelling of his heritage and struggles.
By Shanna Collins | July 27, 2016
Frank Waln didn’t initially set out to be a rapper.
The Sicangu Lakota was born on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and was told to be something “practical.” He was the first person from his high school to get a full ride to Creighton University in Nebraska to study pre-med. After working at Indian Health Service hospital, he left Nebraska in order to pursue his dream of—you guessed it—music elsewhere.
By Braudie Blais-Billie | October 10, 2016
Today 26 cities in the U.S. will officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Those taking part reject the colonial myth that Columbus “discovered” America, and instead recognize the survival of indigenous bodies, cultures, and identity. For Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist Frank Waln, every day is spent honoring his indigenous relatives and ancestors through music and activism. To mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day, The FADER is premiering a new single Waln wrote for the occasion, titled “7.”