Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reviews:: The Representatives (Touch & Nato) - Intelligent Design

At this point, I'm out of jokes about Alberta hip hop. Here at the hill we've tapped into a pipeline of Alberta hip hop that flows across the country and ends up in Halifax for me to review. It's fine by me, as it's given me the chance to make plenty of jokes about how Alberta is lousy with oil money and out here on the East Coast we, uh, aren't. Which might isn't all that funny in theory, but I shall digress and discuss the latest Albertan hip hop export The Representatives' (Touch & Nato) Intelligent Design.

If Touch & Nato were re-enacting DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Princes' seminal album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper then Touch would play the role of the Fresh Prince, and Nato would be DJ Jazzy Jeff. Which is to say that Touch is the MC, and Nato is the DJ. Nato also produced the entire album and, in fact, Nato also runs his own studio in North Edmonton, which is used by Canada's indie hip hop man of the moment, Cadence Weapon, who also makes a guest appearance on this here album. So let's discuss it.

Big drums and a solid piano riff provide the backdrop for, Where I Reside, the tightest song I've ever heard about defending ones' decision to still reside in Canada's 6th most populous city. The Edmonton reppin' continues on The Representatives where Touch makes it clear which city he, ummm, represents. Somethin' Real features Brooklyns own Wordsworth, and both he and Touch kick rhymes about the grittiness of city life over a nice beat that alternates between violins and horns.

The beat on Brand New is kind of a study in contrast, with its static-laden opener and boom bap drums paired with some jazzy saxophone. It serves as a solid background as Touch performs a psychological assessment on a potential MC rival. Touch doesn't have much faith in said MCs' skills: "the punch lines you create are wacker than the Jamaican bobsled team figure skatin'". That is wack indeed. These days you don't get many Carnie themed hip hop songs, but Freak Show has just such a theme and a zany circus beat to match. Can't Hold Me Back has a catchy beat and features the line "you couldn't hold me back if you were a Jamaican chiropractor" which I enjoy, but it features one of the worst choruses I've heard in a while. But big up to the Jamaican metaphors.

What I Want To Say is a solid jam that features Touch calling out fake MC's over thick drums and cartoonish strings. I used to think Montell Jordan had by far the dopest modern take on Slick Rick's classic Children's Story ("All they said was 6'8 he stood, and people thought the music that he made was good!"), but Montell might have some competition now, and I don't mean from that young buck looking to take his spot as fry cook. Adult's Story features Touch & Nato flipping the beat & lyrics from the Ricky D. original to tell the classic hip hop tale of a goldigger trying to trap a rapper by claiming said rapper is her baby daddy. Not a bad song, but honestly, the beeping of the curse words is really kind of wack. Either just curse and leave it in, or follow Heavy D's advice.

Touch Your Toes features some really bitter dude named the Inglewood Junkyard Dog giving about the most misogynist rant you could perhaps imagine. The trick is that on the next song, Four Letter Word, Touch goes though line by line and disputes everything the dog says. Interesting concept, but honestly, who could sit through the rant every time you played the album? Some might not even make it through the first time, so the following song might not make sense. But I do give props for trying something new. The album closes with a remix of What I Want To Say which features Touch and Cadence Weapon over a swirly beat that sounds vaguely like Please Listen To My Demo. Good song.

I feel I must once again harp on my current bugaboo of album length. I think, at 18 songs, Intelligent Design suffers from a case of the too longsies. Not a huge problem, but some of the songs blended together for me, and I think cutting it down would help solve that. But, this is a good album. I can't put it in the mind-blower category, but that category is rather light on the hip hop these days anyway. What it is, however, is a good solid hip hop album done by a couple guys who obviously have plenty of respect for hip hop, and try to make hip hop the "right" way. Which sounds kind of pretentious or whatever, but I'm too lazy to find a better way to say it, and I think our loyal readers are certainly savy enough to know what I mean. As always supporting Canadian hip hop is a good thing, so check Touch & Nato out for yourself.

mp3:: The Representatives - Where I Reside

mp3:: The Representatives - What I Wanna Say

Posted at 8:50 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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