And You Don't Stop: MC RedCloud Shatters Guinness World Record at MMIW Benefit

On November 29, MC RedCloud set out to raise awareness of and money for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. 18 hours later, he'd proved his point.
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“Three-two-one…Guinness Book of World Records, now I am done!” said tired indigenous rapper MC RedCloud. With those finishing words after flowing non-stop for 18 hours, he’d shattered the previous mark of longest continuous rap of 17 hours.

RedCloud, of Huichol heritage, had broken the record on behalf of the Stolen Sisters Awareness Movement, an organization that aims to bring awareness to the 1,200 missing or murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in Canada.

RedCloud’s life partner and the other half of the hip-hop duo LightningCloud, Crystle Lightning, is a Maskwacis (Plains) Cree who originally hails from Edmonton, Alberta and holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. Crystle’s mother, Georgina Lightning, is an activist, actress, screenwriter, and was the first female Native American female director of a feature length 2008 film, Older Than America.

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The record was broken on November 29 at the Indigenous Angels II event, a multi-artist, multi-genre benefit for indigenous causes. The first Indigenous Angels show, in August, brought awareness to unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border fleeing violence in Central America.

MC RedCloud on the mic in the 14th hour of his rhyme-a-thon. Photo: instagram.com/crystle_lightning

The record is not yet official; Guinness will deliver its certification in approximately 13 weeks following a thorough review by the organization's judges. Judges will look for continuous use of rhyming words and pauses no longer than three seconds between words—which RedCloud used for quick sips of water between rhymes.

RedCloud explained the record was something he’d always been shooting for ever since he witnessed a rap idol named Supernatural rap for nine hours straight at a festival in 2006. Supernatural’s record was later broken by about 15 minutes, and numerous rappers have continued to push the mark ever further, each time by roughly 15 minutes, until it stood at the current official record of 17 hours. 

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RedCloud trained by keeping himself in a constant state of writing and rhyming, using his everyday life as creative fodder. “I’d open up a kitchen cupboard, and I ‘d start just thinking of flows and rhymes for everyday objects like cereal and sugar,” he says. “I’d read a Rolling Stone magazine and off the first sentence I‘d flow for five minutes, then read another sentence and keep going.”

The letter and check LightningCloud sent to Stolen Sisters. Source: facebook.com/TeamLightningCloud

As a touring artist, he had plenty of time on the road where he’d be rhyming out loud for hours at a time. He’d take swims and swim a length of a pool in a single breath, and would breathe Rosemary oil fumes, which are reported to help boost one’s memory and creativity. 

The years of preparing paid off, obviously. In fact, when he reached the 18 hour mark, his only thought was that he wanted to keep going, since he was in the zone. “I had it in me to go longer, but I was like, ‘Damn, I gotta pee!’ Next time I’m wearing Depends,” he laughed.

Artwork such as this piece by VOTAN of NSRGNTS (held by Crystle Lightning) was auctioned off at the Indigenous Angels event. Source: instagram.com/crystle_lightning

When he reached the 17 hour mark, RedCloud rhymed the names of every indigenous or missing woman. He also rapped those of the 43 students recently murdered by a drug gang in Mexican state of Guerrero—which lies just a couple hours down Mexico's west coast from the region that is home to his Huichol people.

Foremost, RedCloud said the record wasn’t for himself, but done on behalf of the “Stolen Sisters” who will use the $1,200 in funds made to search for missing women by doing things like supporting volunteers who must unfortunately do things like search rivers and woods for missing bodies.

An emotional RedCloud said, “My heart goes out to all the missing women and their families.”

For updates on MC RedCloud, Crystle Lightning, LightningCloud and future Indigenous Angels events, like the Team LightningCloud page on Facebook.