He sings about love and loss, pain and purpose, over hip-hop beats. His music lands in the genre of emo rap or hip-hop, but Mike Skwark — a.k.a. Smrtdeath — isn’t down for labels. “I’m just doing my thing,” said Skwark, who has built up a following in the process — and was recently picked as one of three emerging Canadian musicians for the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, a prestigious mentorship. The Winnipeg-bred musician has been charting his own course for years. Winnipeg artist smrtdeath swaps hip hop’s tropes with mani-pedis, glitter He started playing drums at about age 11 in his south Winnipeg home. He later switched to guitar and ultimately began writing music, recording, performing live, and filming music videos to satisfy his growing fan base. Fast forward to 2019. Today, the 27-year-old has a strong following on Spotify and Sound Cloud. Music videos on his YouTube channel have posted views into the millions.