Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reviews:: Politic Live - Adaptation

I've been to Edmonton exactly one time. My hotel was in an industrial park and I went to the Olive Garden. That's about all I saw of the city of Champions, so it's not surprising I know nothing about the hip hop scene there. Luckily, the guys from Politic Live hit up the hill with their latest release, Adaptation, and now I know E-lympia has at least one solid hip hop outfit.

Poli Live consists of brothers Bigga Nolte, Dirt Gritie and their cousin Young Mav. Adaptation is their second long player, following their debut Notoriety which came out in 2003. Purusing the nicely put together media package that accompanied Adaptation, I had a red flag moment when I read this bit "In a bold move to further seperate the group from their counterparts, Politic Live ensured Adaptation was a sample free album, relying instead on their talent to create a unique masterpiece". Being one of those annoying dudes who always says shite like "I remember back in 1991, rappers didn't....", I'm worried when I hear people say things like their album is all original beats, as I usually suspect some suckiness could follow. Luckily this isn't the case with Poli Live and Adaptation. If there's a problem with programmed beats, it's usually that they turn out a little boring, they don't have the character samples provide. But boredom isn't a concern on Adaptation, as the blend of programmed sounds and live instruments keep things interesting.

One of the constant themes in Adaptation's production is the Caribbean influence found on songs like Executive Summary, Purification, and Block O. Considering the West Indian heritage shared by the members of Poli Live, it's no surprise they use reggae-sounding drums, horns and organ sounds. But they do it naturally, it never feels forced. That's not to say Caribbean steez is the only trick in the Poli Live bag, as they're able to create a fairly diverse range of tracks. The big, smacking drums and flute sounds of Throw Back sound like something from the eraly 90's. The violins and bumping drums backing The Matinee provide the backdrop for a straight-ahead, modern day banger. The catchy bassline and handclaps on Spider Hill help make it a winner. Enough has a cool 80's feel and provides the backdrop for Poli Live's ode to teenage love.

How does Adaptation fair lyrically? Quite well really, as all 3 MC's do a very solid job on the mic. They kind of remind me of a group like Little Brother because no one MC really blew me away, but they meshed together well and each was able to carry his own weight. They mix up the content too, showing they can cover a wide range of topics. They talk about their experiences as first-generation Canadians in Purification, and they touch on their roots again on Block O where they describe the famous Jamaican block parties that are such a big part of their culture. Spider Hill is an honest look at the struggles each member of the group faced grwoing up. Travels With Akeem is a bit of a concept track as we get to hear the backstory of a new Canadian as one of the MC's catches a ride home in his cab. In Video Light, they even have the requisite "video girl" song that is all the rage in the hip hop biz these days.

To sum this up all nice and tidy like, I can simply say that this is an enjoyable album to listen to. The production is solid and the MCing is high quality and covers topics many people can relate too. Many of the songs have catchy hooks, but they never feel overtly commercial. It's just good music being put out by guys who care about what they do and delivered with a positive message. As always, I like to support Canadian hip hop, especially good Canadian hip hop like this here album, and I suggest you do the same. Go check out Politic Live and Adaptation for yourself.

myspace:: Politic Live

youtube:: Block O

Posted at 12:40 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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