Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reviews:: Markit - Mark My Words

I've reviewed Spesh K's last album, and covered Quake's attempt to crush all Canadian MC's in one blow, so I suppose it makes sense to review the latest solo work to come out of the Fax4 collective, Markit's debut album, Mark My Words. Markit has been working on his MC skills since the age of 16, and considering he looks like he might just be old enough to drink legally in the US, that would mean he's been rocking the mic for almost 1/4 of his life. So what does that mean exactly? I'm not sure really, but I think it's intended to mean that although he's rather young, he knows how to explore the MC-ing studio space.

Markit is otherwise known as Halifax native Mark Cwajna, and his debut is an interesting piece of work. Based on his previous work with Fax4, I expected the album to learn more towards the underground side of the hip hop spectrum, but I was a bit surprised at how cerebral the album is. Markit has obviously invested some time in thinking about his song concepts, and this manifests itself in the fact that Mark My Words isn't just another underground album with 12 songs about how advanced the MC's rappin' skills are. He's even spliced a few samples of Bukowski discussing poetic theory in between his songs. I realize that adding some high-falutin' poetry talk doesn't automatically mean mean this is a "smart" album, but considering the content of your average hip hop interlude (buying/selling/smoking drugs, fellatio, monies that bitches better have, etc.), I think credit should be given when something creative is tried.

The laid-back, jazzy Got Y'All Thinkin' Now is the first proper song, after the instrumental opener Dreams + Bones, and it reminds me of The Goods. Which is to say that Markit's flow on this song reminds me of the Ack's former King's teammate Kunga 219. Which is also to say that unless you're from Halifax, or a huge Canadian hip hop nerd, that reference means nothing to you. Anyway, carrying on. The rather excellent Primary Colors with it's kick-drum and horn loop beat that sounds like something from a Showbiz & AG album, is, thankfully, not about that terrible Travolta movie of the same name, but rather a comical look at the colors all around us. The funky interlude Into Markit features Costanza lying over a beat that sounds like something from an RJD2 album.

A catchy vocal sample helps jazz up the sparse backdrop found on Carry On, where Markit and fellow Fax4ian Boy-Ill describe getting their carry-on, umm, on, despite what the universe throws at them. The back-to-nature themed For Us and the road-trip jam A Quick Visit are the kind of slice of life songs that would make Moka Only proud. Markit puts his twist on the "hip hop as cheating lover" metaphor on All I Could Do, and he does a good job over a beat that kind of sounds like Akon's Mr. Lonely, except not terrible.

It's fitting that KRS is sampled on Supermarkit, as the stutter-stepping drums and horn loop on this party starter reminds me of an old BDP beat. Pass It Off is catchy, and finds Markit joined by Washington DC's delightfully nerd-hop named BluRum13. The Forgotten finds Markit paying tribute to soul music legends like Otis Redding and Earth, Wind & Fire, which is impressive considering most rappers Markit's age wouldn't know Otis Redding from Otis Spunkmeyer.

Mark My Words, at 15 songs, including 3 instrumental jams, is a perfect length, thus sparing everyone from my usual "this album is too long" rant. The fact that Markit has spared you from that might be enough reason for you to pick up his album, but I think it's solid enough for you to consider it on it's own merits. There's plenty of DJ work by the legendary Jorun, which I approve of highly, and the production, while not mind-blowing, is pretty solid throughout. The production is kind of understated, which is probably intentional as Markit has a pretty relaxed flow and the beats generally match that.

As I said before, Markit puts thought into his lyrics, so there's something new to pick up on the second or third time through the album, which is always good. So support Halifax and Canadian hip hop and check Markit out.

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mp3:: Markit - Supermarkit

Posted at 11:46 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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