Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Talking Points:: Hand'Solo Records Mixtape

If you were to ask me "Shane, please recommend one mixtape that will bring me up to speed on what has been going on in the Canadian indie/underground hip hop scene for the last decade or so", I would have to go with the new mixtape from Hand'Solo records, the airily named Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons (are no match for a good blaster). It's a good thing I've never actually been asked such a question, as up until I downloaded this mix, I'm not sure I'd have an answer.

I don't often talk about mixtapes on the hill, but when I do, I usually make some mention of how I don't review mixtapes (yes it is contrary to keep mentioning that in posts about mixtapes, I shall stop). But, considering the connections Hand'Solo has with Halifax hip hop, and the time and effort that has clearly gone into this Uncle Fester-mixed effort, I needed to give it some coverage. Basically it features a ton of solid underground Canadian MC's matched with beats that have appeared on previous Hand'Solo releases. It's good stuff, but here's my thoughts on the songs, talking points style:

- The intro features OK Cobra's Fritz the Cat doing a College Boyz style phone-freestyle, before it blends into a Buck 65 feat. Stinkin' Rich song which must be from the time he was transitioning from his old moniker to his current. "Fuck you and the brushes you paint with" is a good line though.

- Saskatoon's Epic is an endearing MC, if that's possible. He rhymes like a frail man who woke up from a coma 2 days ago, but he drops lines like "I'm a left-wing Canadian like Steve Shutt", which are hard not to enjoy. Touch joins him for a fine verse on Rhyming Into a 4 Track.

- Dartmouth native and current Vancouver (I think) resident Tachichi does some fine work over a Buck 65 produced beat that sounds like it samples a didgeridoo. Which is solid.

- Tour de Gallows features another Buck 65 beat, this one very serious sounding with a thick bassline, and it is laced with some equally serious rhymes from Halifax(now Edmonton)'s Jesse Dangerously and Modulok from Red Ants. After reading the track listing, I was looking forward to hearing these guys matched up, and it didn't disappoint.

- Out of the MC's I wasn't familiar with on the album, Toronto's Royce Birth might've made the most impression on me: "I might forewarn ya, appear out the clear blue and PM Dawn ya". Good stuff.

- Ira Lee is as clever as ever on Just Let It Happen, but I think Wordburglar steals the show with his verse that features him doing a spot on imitation of Buck 65. At least I think that's what he's doing, but I enjoy it either way.

- Epic returns with a wacky ode to Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky. I suppose the fact that it's about a mid-level NHL player means I could've left "wacky" out of the previous sentence, you would've figured that out.

- More Or Les is someone I've wanted to cover before on the hill, but hadn't managed to as of yet. So I was happy to see he was on this mix, and he's paired with a DJ Moves-produced beat that features some solid olde english trumpets on Talk 2 The Hand (Solo). I would like to hear, umm, more, from More Or Les. Yowtch.

- The last 1/4 of the album has a bunch of pretty excellent posse tracks. The Ripped Thong Song, Keep The Channel Locked, and Heads Up (American Pie with Canadian Bacon refit) feature a number of MC's (many of whom are American: Cas Uno, Esh, Big Ref, Myf, Xczircles, Megalynk 3) I didn't really know, but the beats are pretty sick, so these are all pretty enjoyable.

- The mix also serves as a good intro for Halifax & Hand'Solo's own Wordburglar as he's on a few songs. Burg is the king of punchlines in Canadian hip hop, well I just crowned him that, and his The WBmix helps wrap things up and also serves as the first single from the mix.

Sounds good no? Get a copy yourself today via download or just fire up the paypal and send $10 to handsolo@primus.ca and you'll get a CD copy.

Posted at 2:11 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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