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by Marlon Regis
1 January, 1999@12:00 am
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 It’s assumed that if you’re into hip hop as low as the ‘underground’ goes, you would have inevitably drifted north of the U.S. borders where temperatures drop even lower. Enter Canada, and one of its premier lyricists, Choclair. Very hip to the essence of the beats and rhyme theory, on Ice Cold however, Choclair’s quest to fit into that mass media trend influencing hip hop’s sound, appeal and lyrical focus, fumbles his debut for a touchdown!

On the title track, “Ice Cold”, the simple production emphasizes Choclair’s intricate flow, which sways from hardcore deliveries to suave tones most used for ass-jiggling tunes. The chorus hook, southern-fried with Goodie Mob-esque melodies, doesn’t even seem to work. And on “Let’s Ride” your little sister could tap out a more melodic display on her toy-piano, giving your ear any sort of excitement. It’s tracks like this that make you want to bypass the lyrics, which in some cases, may be really worth listening to. But when there’s no water, why bother looking for the soap!

Heartfelt efforts on some of the tracks live out Choclair’s fantasies, and the drip of the grooves and the taste of his tongue on “With it” swipe you right into a hot steamy nightclub, standing next to your one-night stand. The bump on this track is raw, but yet so flavored with gravy. Choclair’s identity is more convincing when visited on other grassroots gems like “Fresh” and on “Young Gunz” featuring Memphis Bleek. Away from the ‘in-your-face’ techniques, his chances of being noticed depend on luck, or on the strength of his collaborators.

Also, a lot of disappointment lies in the production, which just doesn’t evoke any type of stimulation. Rocking the mic is one thing, but when the pulse fails to drive you to even nod your bean, it’s a very dry taste you’re left with. Whether a hurried project as it sounds like, or just off target, anticipating a 12″ release from a brother like Choclair is a much warmer feeling than depending on a LP such as Ice Cold, an uncomfortable wind chill of music you’re anxious to pass through.

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