Saturday, April 28, 2007

Reviews:: Intricate Minds - Self-Hypnosis

Nova Scotia and Alberta hip hop have a relationship that is opposite to that of Nova Scotia and the Alberta job market. Whereas Nova Scotians have been heading to Alberta in droves to make $57 an hour working at the Fort McMurray Tim Horton's, Alberta's hip hop artists have been sending albums to the hill in droves. Well, Intricate Minds' Self-Hypnosis is the third album I've reviewed from Alberta, so I guess whether or not 3 makes up a drove depends on your perspective. That being said, considering I'm the one writing this, and thus the arbiter of what makes a drove, if you're inclined to think 3 doesn't cut it, then I'm sorry to say your perspective is wrong. But I digress...

Anyway, Intricate Minds is a five man hip hop ensemble from Red Deer, or there-abouts. The crew consists of DJ Kalo, Producer Justin Crates, who also does some MC duty, as well as MC's Synaptix, Prof, and Verse. Apparently they have been tabbed by Rawkus records as one of the 50 hip hop groups to watch or something, and Rawkus will be promoting their record. Sounds fairly impressive for an underground group coming out of Alberta, although Rawkus did fall the fack off there for a while. But Rawkus seems to have been trying to rebound recently, so it's a decent endorsement none the less.

I like this album, but before we get into anymore details, I need to rant a little bit. This album is too long. I don't care if it does include 4 interludes, 22 tracks is simply too long. If I thought Chubb Rock's I Gotta Get Mine Yo was too long at 20 songs, there's a pretty good chance that, regardless of who you are, I'm going to think your 22 song album is too long. Especially in this day & age where there is so music available so easily. With the avalanche of music people can now access to a the drop of a dime, I think you need to put the strongest 12-15 tracks you have on your album in order to make a nice, concise impact on the listener. I'm not beefing with Intricate Minds' album in particular, as I realize there are plenty of hip hop albums with 20 plus songs, but it's been bothering me for a while now and this was a good chance to get it off my chest. So thanks for listening, I feel better, let's continue.

The production on Self-Hypnosis makes a good first impression with the reggae vibes and guitar licks of Your Neighborhood. Things pick up lyrically with Come On, as soaring orchestral strings are worked into a backdrop for the MC's to lay out their vision for hip hop in '07: "A different approach, instead of a coast or what someone else is trying to boast, you've got your own brain and two eyes, so realize". Using your brain in hip hop, always good advice. What You Want is just all around catchy from the knocking drum loop and guitar licks to the sing-song chorus.

I'm guessing Devil Next Door is probably the only rap song that details the shooting of 4 RCMP officers in Rochfort Bridge, Alberta by a psychotic weed farmer. Each verse tackles the story from a different point of view, and it's not easy to make a song out a tragic event like this without it slipping into melodrama, but I think they've done a good job here. Kudos to IM for taking an event from their part of the world and constructing a decent song around it.

The jibe on Got Shot Down about Rita McNeil on the alarm clock being an omen of a bad day earns a "tsk tsk" from me, but not for reasons of NS pride, but mainly because it's kind of cliche at this point. Honestly, I would find it much worse if I woke up to the Nicklesack. Where are they from again? Oh, right. However, the line "had to take a deuce with no asswipe" pretty much squares things up. Closer has a nice bassline and also features excellent use of a Redman sample, which I always enjoy. The reggae vibe is brought back for the weed-laced Greencards, which also features Pacewon of Outsidaz fame. Do Not Enter is kind of like a raucous posse track with an jazzy, uptempo beat - don't hear many like this anymore.

Like the other Alberta albums I've reviewed, Intricate Minds make music that you would file under "real" or "traditional" in the hip hop rolodex. Despite my issues with it's length and the hypnosis interludes that I probably could do without, I like this album. After a couple listens, I started to appreciate the depth of the lyrical content, and the production is quite well done. Honestly, I still couldn't tell you which MC is which, but I don't think that's a big problem unless the guys are all planning on launching huge solo careers. You don't see a lot of groups in hip hop anymore, let alone groups with 4 MC's, so it's good to see it can still be done well. This is a nice album, and I'd say it's probably worth the time required to listen to it all the way through.

mp3:: Come On

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Posted at 10:59 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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