Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reviews:: DL Incognito - A Captured Moment In Time

This is billed as a review, but it might as well be an infomercial. But instead of shilling haircutting vacuum cleaners (the Ack knows all about the Flobee!) or life-altering trash compacting technology developed by a semi-legendary Canadian boxer, I'm singing the virtues of one DL Incognito. I've always been a fan of what DL does, so I was excited to hear his latest album, A Captured Moment In Time. Now that I've spent some time with it, I'm happy to report it doesn't disappoint in any way, and it strikes me that DL is absolutely one of the best MC's in Canada.

I know, I know, those of you not in Canada and lean towards smart-assery are likely thinking that being one of Canada's best MC's is likely akin to being one of the best NBA players from Canada (Nash, Magloire, uhhh, Dalembert is Canadian now, ahhh, errr...does Mike Smrek still play?), not much comp for the honour. But this isn't really true, I think there's plenty of hip hop talent in Canada, and DL's latest album is a prime example of that. The Ottawa native isn't flashy, doesn't need any gimmicks, and won't try and blind you with super-deep MC science - he's simply an MC with a perfect combination of skills (voice, flow, lyrics, beats) that make him tremendously listenable.

I know that might sound like faint praise, but I mean it as quite the compliment. Some MC's make listening to them like working a part-time job, but not DL, he glides over a track with ease and I could listen to him all day. Well perhaps half a day. Or a couple hours at least, my musical attention span is only so long. Anyway, back on topic, DL makes music I enjoy, and as always with hip hop, production is a big part of that. As far as I can tell, A Captured Moment in time is self-produced, and that ups the impressiveness a couple more notches. The beats are consistently good throughout the whole album, with plenty of horns and strings layered over solid drum tracks. While none are mind blowers per se, there are no filler beats to be found, and that hard to find in this day & time.

Claim To Fame opens the album with DL proclaiming his devotion to hip hop over soaring strings - "If I have to do time, then I'll do 16 with ease". He goes on to cover a wide range of subjects, from materialism to war-hungry governments, in this one song without it feeling forced. That takes skill, and DL has it. Grand Scale is excellent, with DL rhyming about hip hop's global appeal of a sinister beat with plenty of tasty horns. "Keep a couple lines in your fade, an extra limp in your walk, sling editorial talk and stay frost" is an awesome line because it reminds me of cab-drivin' Cappa who is also awesome. The beat on Made It Through is crazy, with some weird 80's sounding keyboards put on top of some pretty banging drums and some sped up vocal samples, but it works in spades and DL kills it: "listen to the song, hip hop's an artform, it's not what's on the radio and dot-com". Word, love this song.

Things get mellowed out in the middle of the album, with the laid-back soul sounds of Fresh To Death and the poignant I Owe It All To You where DL send a shoutout to his late mother, his brother, and others that have made an impact on him. But before things can get too slow, the tempo goes back up with The Atmosphere which features DL trading verses with Toronto's Theology 3 and they make a very solid duo. Air Play has a dark, 70's, jazz-funk beat that works even without a slap bass solo, and finds DL kicking notable quotables all over the track: "don't use narcotics, my minds clear, but money comes thinner than macbook air".

All right, that is enough from me, simply put this is the best Canadian hip hop album I've heard this year and likely one of the best overall. It's twelve very strong songs, and if you're into Canadian hip hop at all, this is a must-own. Leaving Canada aside, if you're into classic hip hop the way it used to be done, then there's no reason not to check out this album.

myspace :: label :: buy it

Posted at 10:14 AM by naedoo :: 2 comments

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At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Ry did sayeth:

I like DL and being an Ottawa fella myself, I root for him, but his delivery always leaves me wanting more. It's so monotone, and not in the endearing Guru kinda way.

 

At 1:57 PM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

Hmmm, monotone you say, I suppose I could maybe see that on some songs, and if I wasn't feeling his lyrics that might be an issue.

But if I'm being honest, I enjoy his delivery, this isn't really a problem for me. So as the legendary Parrish Smith once said "to each his own".

He also said "knick knack patty whack give the dog a bone", but that has little relevance here, outside of its awesomeness.

 

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