1 June, 2012@7:02 am
What do Biz Markie, Busdriver, and Blueprint all have in common? Aside from the fact that all three have each made their mark on the hip-hop scene, they all seem as far apart in their lyrical and song delivery approach as possible. On his new album, Hope In Dirt City, Canada’s Cadence Weapon fuses the best elements of all three, most-likely unbeknownst to himself, to form a conceptually, musically, and lyrically dynamic listening experience.
H.I.D.C. is an album that doesn’t rely on formulaic loops and musical arrangements, and is equally diverse in subject matter. From rock, to reggae, to dance music, and a number of other genres, Cadence Weapon offers varied production that flows seamlessly with the unique song concepts he brings to the table. Oftentimes, the idea of this many styles of music being utilized ends up like a train wreck, but it is done to perfection here.
Having served as a government appointed poet laureate in Edmonton from 2009-2011, it’s no wonder that his respect for the spoken word is in top shape. Cadence’s songwriting can best be summarized as storytelling that fuses lyrical tangents and abstract lyrical approaches to create a consistent package. While this may not make sense upon reading, a quick listen to the record will help clarify. There is nary a hint of an emcee rapping for rap’s sake on this release, as each song offers a creative and humorous approach to original concepts. Notable standouts deal with an emcees best friend on stage on “Hype Man”, an appreciation for ghetto blasters on “Jukebox”, and the title track that closes out the album. However, there is really no filler here, and almost every song is guaranteed to offer something original, which makes it an album that requires active listening and not just a background throw on.
While the three aforementioned emcees probably will never be in the same location together, they are creatively summoned on Hope In Dirt City to create an album worthy of auditory exploration. Take Biz Markie’s humorous approach to songwriting; add the alternative production choices, and often humorous abstract lyricism of Busdriver; blend in the vocal projection that Blueprint has utilized effectively on some of his work, and you are left with a breakthrough artist from the frozen North. The time he put into this album shows, and the time it may take to fully crack what is going on may be comparable for the listener.
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