Reviews:: The Happy Unfortunate - No Time To Sleep

The Happy Unfortunate - No Time To SleepConsidering the direction hip hop has taken - going from a place where “being a biter” was the most heinous of crimes, to a climate now where anyone who makes an impact at all will likely have an army of internet-mixtape wielding clones overnight - there’s certainly no shame in overtly acknowledging your influences, as Edmonton Winnipeg duo The Happy Unfortunate have done with the lead track on their new album. No Time To Sleep opens with The Tribe Taught Me, and although the quickest of listens to the album will make it clear that Malcolm-Jay and DJ Envoy aren’t trying to ape ATCQ’s sound, it’s such an enjoyable listen that I wish more of today’s hip hop outfits were able to channel their influences in the way that The Happy Unfortunate have here.


As one might expect (or rather hope) from a group that name-checks Tribe and has another song called 89 Vibin (“I was born in ’89″ Really? Jebus, I’m ancient), The Happy Unfortunate inject a warm, jazzy vibe into their production throughout this album. Considering the second song on the album is the drum & keys instrumental Just Listen, I’m guessing how they present themselves sonically is important to the duo, and on that front they nail it. From top to bottom each song finds a groove that makes the album perfect for pumping through headphones and getting lost in its laid back horns and basslines.


Not-so-coincidentally, the music also suits the lyrical approach of the group (I’m assuming Malcolm-Jay handles most of the vocal duties, but I don’t know for sure) down to the ground. As I mentioned earlier, the guys are fairly young, and the lyrical content focuses on dealing with their day to day and on making music, but they do it earnestly & honestly, and so a song like the bubbly Independent, which finds them pledging allegiance to doing music they believe in, is not only a great listen, but feels completely heartfelt.


There’s plenty of other great listens to be had on No Time to Sleep as well, like The World is Mine, which had been released previously on an EP, features some smooth guitar licks and a welcome guest verse from Muneshine. The piano stabs, sweeping strings and addictive chorus of New Generation make it my current favorite “song to bump on a sunny day” song. The combination of the familiar drums and twinkly chimes of Heart Matters make it a striking backdrop for the introspective tune, and both Independent and Running Back prove that sped-up chipmunk-sounding samples still sound good.


If you’re looking for some mellow, soul-filled hip hop to add to your upcoming summer soundtrack, swing over to The Happy Unfortunate’s bandcamp and grab No Time To Sleep. It is currently a free download, wisely set at an internet-age-savy 13 songs, and I’m going to play the bejebus out of it this summer, so go check it out.

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MP3:: The World is Mine f. Muneshine



Tags: The Happy Unfortunate

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 2:18 pm and is filed under 2011, Canadian Hip Hop, Hip Hop, Reviews, Winnipeg. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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2 Responses to “Reviews:: The Happy Unfortunate - No Time To Sleep”

wynrush April 12th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

The duo is from Winnipeg

admin April 12th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Dammit, fixed, and thanks for spotting it. No idea why I wrote Edmonton in opener - I knew they were from Winnipeg, I even posted tagged the post with “Winnipeg”.

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