Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reviews:: D-Sisive - The Book

Like legendary Halifax realtor Scot Pottie, Toronto's Urbnet records has been on fire the last few months. First they hit us with the Carps EP Waves & Shambles, which we both thought was excellent (review & interview for your perusal), then came DL Incognito's new album, A Captured Moment in Time, which I kind of gushed over a little bit. Now comes their latest release that I'm going to have to break out the superlatives for, D-Sisive's The Book.

I've been a fan of D-Sisive's since his appearance on DJ Serious' 2001 effort Dim Sum, where he showcased his flow and humour on the pop star trashing Popped and the catchy, Eminem-distancing Critics. He was clearly a talented guy, but despite what he might've said ("I don't talk about murdering my girlfriend, Or raping twelve year olds and hoping that the world ends"), A number of people saw Canadian-Shady when they looked at him. He landed a production deal with some heavy management types, and there was pressure to produce an album full of radio-friendly jams. Well D-Sisive rebelled against that, lost both of his parents, and then got really depressed. The Book is D's brutally-honest, aural catharsis for this period in his life.

Sounds like fun doesn't it? Well, there are some heavy moments, no doubt about that, but there is also humour, and even when he's talking about wearing the same clothes for days on end and refusing to leave his apartment, I still find him likable. Sometimes the confessional, emo-rap is a chore to listen to, but I didn't find that to be the case on this album at all. I don't even mind the intro, which finds D-Sisive singing over some kids xylophone about his friends telling him to give up the dream and get a job before he breaks into a short verse. A verse that shows as much doubt and self-consciousness as you'll find in an MC: "I know I won't make them all throw their bones up, I just hope they don't laugh when I show up".

In case there was any doubt about the "tortured artist" theme as being one of the main narratives for this particular Book, the first real song on the album is named after the poster boy for depressed musicians everywhere: Brian Wilson. It's pretty awesome song though, opening up with what sounds like sound old-school blues guitar licks, before big echo-fied drums, synth bassline, and ominous strings come in. Lyrically D-Sisive does as good a job dissecting his rise and fall as I've ever heard an MC do, and lines like "I vanished into thin wind slow, a fat guy in a ripped little coat" make me laugh but also make me a little sad for the guy. It's a surprisingly enjoyable mix. Speaking of surprisingly enjoyable mixes, D samples a large chunk of Tom Waits' Underground for Ambulance, and the results are much more enjoyable than I expected. I should've know though, as D says of Waits: "He’s the Timbaland of stick bass and jugs."

The concisely named ThisIsWhatItSoundsLikeWhenWhiteboysListenToHipHop has a catchy, rubbery beat, and can likely be related to by anyone of the Caucasian persuasion who grew up on hip hop: "leaned back, like black comedians re-enacting how most people drive, this is how I roll when I'm in my Dad's '85 Olds". I mean who among us hasn't drove around in their Dad's gold Cutlass Ciera with a walkman and mini-speakers so they could blast their rap tapes? What, just me? I see. Moving on, the hypnotic drums and keys of Kneecaps make up one of my favorite beats on the album, and D's mixing of his love for hip hop with the story of losing his parents is pretty captivating. Solid song all around. Church organ provides the backdrop for Laundry Room, likely one of the most depressing hip hop song you'll ever hear. Well I should clarify that, as the most intentionally depressing hip hop song, as anything currently in the top 10 from people like Young Jeezy or Plies will likely depress you for a different reason.

Anyway, I think this is a great album and I encourage everyone to check it out. It's short, so the dark subject matter doesn't have a chance to get old, and every song is strong in it's own right. I said this about DL's album "simply put this is the best Canadian hip hop album I've heard this year and likely one of the best overall", and I think it goes ditto for The Book, so have yourself a listen.

myspace :: label :: buy CD :: iTunes

Posted at 1:20 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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