Published on June 16, 2014 by Amy
Gary Paul Davis (born March 1, 1969), better known by his stage name Litefoot, is a Native American rapper, actor, and the founder of the Red Vinyl record label. He also portrayed Little Bear in the movie The Indian in the Cupboard, and Night Wolf in Mortal Kombat Annihilation.
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Litefoot was born Gary Paul Davis in Upland, California. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is of mixed Cherokee and Chichimeca (northern Mexican indigenous) ancestry. He has lived in Seattle, Washington since 1997. He is married to Carmen Davis, who serves as president of the Reach The Rez effort and is of the Makah, Yakama, and Chippewa Cree tribes. They have three sons, Quannah, Sequoyah and Qwnuseia.
Although Litefoot was not the first Native American to perform rap music (Melle Mel, of Cherokee descent, would probably be the first), he is the first to do so while openly acknowledging his indigenous roots, calling his style of hip hop Tribalistic Funk. The term was an invention by Litefoot, created to describe his type of music which was a hybrid mix of hip-hop from the Midwest and West Coast with some influence of Dirty South style. Litefoot’s early recordings were a search to find a mix of hip-hop and his own native culture. Litefoot, along with Dallas, Texas producer, Willie Fressh (aka “Big Will”), concocted Tribalistic Funk based on the tribal origins of Native Americans along with African Americans in the USA and the idea that there were so many parallels between Black street life and Native life. In the summer of 95, Litefoot & Frost collabed on projects including “A Good Day To Die”. West coast acts such as A.L.T. The Saint, Foesum & the G’ Fellas were featured. In 1997, Litefoot began his next album “The Life & Times”. Again, the G-spot family crew were on the album following “Rez Affiliated” in 1999 which featured Coolio. Plus all three albums were produced by Tony G. Litefoot & Frost had a falling out so the two parted ways.
He has won six Native American Music Awards, his most recent for Artist of The Year.
Litefoot has also appeared in Hollywood films, such as The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Kull the Conqueror (1997), and Adaptation (2002), and several independent films, including 29 Palms (2002); Song Of Hiawatha (1997) as the titular role; and The Pearl (2000). He has also appeared on the television programs: CSI: Miami, Family Law, and Any Day Now.
Litefoot produces and hosts his own nationally distributed hip hop and R&B radio show called Reach The Rez Radio, which debuted in 2005. The program can be found at www.reachtherezradio.com and is aired weekly through Native Voice One Satellite Network. Litefoot produces several clothing lines the best known being the brand, “Native Style.”
Litefoot annually spends months of his time working on various reservations across the United States and Canada. His most recent music and speaking tour was the “Reach The Rez Tour.” This annual project lasted one year, 54,000 miles and 211 events across the United States. Litefoot has released ten albums. Litefoot’s CD, Relentless Pursuit, was released in late 2008 and was his first to enjoy nationwide distribution.