Hailing from Edmonton, Canada, Cadence Weapon (literally) comes out of nowhere with Breaking Kayfabe, an album originally released in Canada at the tail end of 2005, to great critical acclaim. As the story goes, the 21-year Cadence Weapon was the son of a Brooklyn deejay, who would mail him tapes of classic New York hip-hop, thus developing his ear for good music at an early age. A completely self-produced artist, Cadence’s debut featured 12 original tracks of simply dope underground hip-hop ï¿½ without the help of collaborators and hot producers.
After garnering huge critical success (not to mention being tapped to remix songs for Lady Sovereign and Vice Records, respectively), it was time to bring Cadence Weapon’s Breaking Kayfabe to the U.S. Signing a stateside deal with Epitaph’s Anti- imprint, Cadence released Breaking Kayfabe independently here in March of 2007, with an (apparent) official Epitaph re-launch of the album scheduled for October of 2007.
So what is it that makes Cadence so fresh? Perhaps it’s his commanding presence on the mic, or the surprisingly confident attitude he carries, despite being more or less a rookie emcee. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Cadence is producing his own music, with a unique sound that combines 80′s electro keyboard beats with today’s abstract production style. Whatever the case may be, Cadence will be easily compared to other sarcastic backpack rappers like Aesop Rock, Blueprint, or Kool Kieth, so it should come as no surprise when he inserts himself right into their respective fanbases.
From the moment the opening song starts, “Oliver Square”, the first thing the listener notices is how different the production is, but Cadence immediately grabs your attention with his seasoned delivery and crisp enunciation, educating you about his hometown. “Sharks” follows, where after spitting the first verse, he employs a 16 bar instrumental interlude of blisteringly sticky synth and then reveals cockily “that means stop biting my shit”. “Black Hand” combines sampled layers of cracking funk drums, banjo licks, and jazzy interludes, while Cadence kicks cleverly penned braggadocio and shit talking.
It’s not all rapping for the sake of rapping, however. He tackles tougher subject matter such as on the dark “Diamond Cutter”, which explores the life of a prostitute, or “30 Seconds”, which examines capitalism, big corporations, and their effects on society.
While Cadence has something noteworthy here, it does not come without criticism. Thankfully, his lyrics are pretty straightforward, however his production is not. Songs like “Fathom” and “Vicarious” seem to go overboard with the spaced out keyboard synth. Considering that Cadence produced the entire album himself, most of the songs have a similar sound, which on one hand creates a unified sound for the record, but on the other hand begins to sound monotonous after a while.
Regardless, Cadence Weapon is a true diamond in the rough, and at only 21 years of age, he’s got plenty of room to grow and hone his craft. While it is obvious that he used the most basic tools to produce this record, Breaking Kayfabe also suggests that he could be a dangerous producer with the right equipment at his disposal. Coupled with the fact that he’s also ill on the mic, it’s only a matter of time before he’s considered on of the underground’s favorites.
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