Tag Archives: canadian hip hop

Awareness

The Narcicyst Featured In Today’s Globe

The Narcicyst, an emcee we featured on 4080 back in 2008, was interviewed for an article in today’s Globe and Mail about Muslim Canadians using art to explore their identity and religion. In the article, The Narcicyst (real name Yassin Alsalman), echoes the sentiments of countless activists and rappers who have used hip-hop to fight injustices and push for change:

“We learned from the African American community on how to be vocal about our experience artistically,” Alsalman wrote in an e-mail explaining the development of what is known as Arab hip-hop. “… before hip hop and the Arab world met, we were silent. Now our generation is speaking out more than ever.”

A powerful read, for sure.

Music

Anyone remember Organized Rhyme?

Organized Rhyme is a group that may or may not ring a bell.  Especially if you’re Canadian.  Our boys over at The Meaning of Dope have posted a little clip of these cats and you can get a little taste of them below.

What makes them so amusing?  For one, they’re three white Canadians rapping about things like hockey and orange juice.  And, well, Tom Green is one of them.

That alone is worth a laugh.  But still, somehow they’ve captured the hearts of some weird subset of the population.

Either way, they are lighthearted and can definitely be fun.  Something to take your mind off things these days.

Music

Interview With Classified

More dopeness from the girls on CFUV’s The Corner: an interview with Classified, one of Canada’s finest emcees.  Check it out below, and tune in to The Corner every Friday from 5 to 6 pm Pacific time on CFUV 101.9, or online at cfuv.uvic.ca.

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Music

Canadian Content: Buck 65 and Cadence Weapon

Buck 65 and Cadence Weapon are the binary stars (it’s called a metaphor) of avant-garde Canadian hip-hop. And by avant-garde I mean dope. Both musicians blend thought-provoking, often obtuse raps over eclectic, unconventional beats, resulting in a unique brand of hip-hop that is difficult to describe yet uniquely Canadian. The two are sometimes compared to American underground rappers like Aesop Rock or most of the anticon stable, yet such comparisons fail to capture the multiform, genre-bending sound one encounters on albums like Buck 65’s Talkin’ Honky Blues and Cadence Weapon’s Breaking Kayfabe.

Buck 65 (aka Richard Terfry of Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia) and Cadence Weapon (aka Rollie Pemberton of Edmonton, Albera) have both released new music in the past several months. Buck 65’s most recent effort, Situation, is, like much of his work, lyrically dense and perhaps a tad too esoteric. Indeed, it requires serious listening to decipher, but will reward listeners who put in the effort. Fortunately, for those who aren’t interested in interpreting lyrics Situation’s beats are accessible enough. Produced by Skratch Bastid, the album “has a more ‘pure’ hip-hop sound” than Buck 65’s earlier work and the jazzy, funky beats keep the record from descending too far into wierdness, especially when Terfry can no longer resist the temptation to go off the lyrical deep end.

Cadence Weapon’s newest album, Afterparty Babies, is similarly characterized by bizarre pop-culture references, “rubbery vocal cadences” and “leftfield excursions.” Lyrically, Cadence Weapon and Buck 65 thus occupy similar places on the fringe of the hip-hop spectrum. Musically, however, the two are practically complete opposites. Cadence Weapon’s sound draws heavily from electro influences, and his beats are populated with strange bleeps and bloops, 808 drums and “molten, neon synths.” In fact, on tracks like the appropriately named “House Music,” Cadence might pass for a competent house music producer (or is that track meant to be ironic?).

While some might be turned off by the two rapper’s penchant for verbose, “colloquial poetry,” there is no denying that both Buck 65 and Cadence Weapon continue to push the boundaries of what hip-hop is capable of. Check out some tracks from their new albums to hear what I mean.

Buck 65 – The Beatific (Situation, 2007)

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Buck 65 – Benz ft. Cadence Weapon (Situation, 2007)

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Cadence Weapon – In Search Of The Youth Crew (Afterparty Babies, 2008)

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I haven’t been able to find copies of either album on any blogs, so if you’re jonesing to hear them in their entirety you may have to torrent them. Or, you could be a real man/woman and buy them here and here.

Album Reviews Music

The Chicharones – When Pigs Fly (2005)

The Chicharones - When Pigs Fly

The Chicharones – When Pigs Fly (2005)

Mixing astute, introspective rhymes with irony and self-deprecating humour, the Chicharones (aka Vancouver’s Josh Martinez and the Oldominion crew’s Sleep) are a talented, yet underrated duo. On When Pigs Fly, their first full-length album, the Chicharones combine dope beats and dope rhymes (what more do y’all want?) into “a tuneful and catchy piece of mature hip-hop.” Martinez and Sleep’s verbal back-and-forth on tracks like “Surf Rock” will remind you of Golden Age mc duos like Tribe and EPMD, while more serious fare such as “Can’t Find The Time” while have you nodding your head and listening closely to their melodic rhymes.

Album Reviews Music

Maestro Fresh-Wes – Symphony In Effect (1989)

Symphony In Effect

Maestro Fresh-Wes – Symphony In Effect (1989)

Awww yeah, this joint is a straight up classic! Released in 1989, Maestro Fresh-Wes’ first LP remains the biggest selling Canadian hip-hop album of all time. The album’s first single, “Let Your Backbone Slide,” was the first Top 40 single by a Canadian mc and remains the only Canadian hip-hop single to be certified gold. These figures are amazing, especially considering Symphony In Effect was released nearly 20 years ago!

Produced when it was still kosher to sample from obvious sources (and before other sources had been played out), the album is full of recognizable, yet undeniably dope loops and funky ass breaks. Even better, Maestro’s lyrics are on point and DJ LTD rocks the 1s and 2s, especially on track 4, “LTD’s On The Wheel(s) Of Fortune.”

If you’re a true head, you absolutely need this album.

For further evidence of its dopeness, check out the video for “Let Your Backbone Slide”:

Music

The Narcicyst: Iraqi-Canadian Hip-hop

The Narcicyst

Whether or not you agree with the political content of this cat’s rhymes, there’s no denying the Narcicyst, formerly of the Euphrates crew, is nice on the mic. With roots in Basra, the Narcicyst was born and raised in Dubai and now resides in Montreal. Rhyming in both English and Arabic, his complex, compelling lyrics address some of the most politically charged issues of our time, including the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq, Islamaphobia and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

To listen to his music, check out his myspace at http://www.myspace.com/euphrates or check out the track ‘Mon Pays,’ courtesy of shakomakoNet, a fantastic online magazine featuring content by Iraqi youth from around the world.