Friday, April 3, 2009

BOX:: All-Canadian Edition Vol. 3

It's been a few months since we've done an all-Canadian edition of our semi-regular rap song round up here at the hill, and really that's too long. I'm calling it all-Canadian, but really, it's all-Toronto, as all of these jams originate from the screwface capital. Usually I can sneak at least one track from Alberta or something in there, but not this time, it's all T-dot, all the time. I don't mind, I did live there for nearly seven years after all, but we always like to rep for all of Canada here at the hill. So come on other provinces, send us your hip hop songs so they can get the BOX treatment they so rightfully deserve.

Right then, on with the show. We've got a pretty strong group of Canadian/Toronto songs here, so let's get to them.

Tona calls Scarborough home, but hails originally from Ghana. He's not a new jack, as it seems he's been in the game since his teens. That's pretty much the extent of my Tona knowledge, but I can say it seems it approaches his music in an honest way, trying to steer clear of the flossy nonsense in vogue right now. This track right here has a big cinematic beat and features Tona proclaiming himself to be a major talent, with or without label assistance. Lyrically Tona doesn't blow me away, but he has a confident, no-nonsense style that I like. This is a pretty good jam.

I've had this song since I think right after I did the last all-Canadian edition last year, so my apologies to the Tru-Paz for not getting this up earlier, but I was saving it. I'm a bit more familiar with the Tru-Paz from my time in TO, but I have to say I had some picture of them as super hardcore dudes in army fatigues, but I think I'm confusing their name with someone else. Anyway, this earnest, reggae-tinged anthem is not what I was expecting, but I like it. This song here is the remix featuring TO reggae master Blessed and it's hard to deny the urgency the combo creates. This is the kind of song old grumpy Juno types that complain about negative hip hop should hear. Well they wouldn't understand any of it, but still.

Empire is a big-ass crew from TO, also known as the Fifth Letter Fam. I hadn't heard of them, but we've been sent about 3 different songs from them over the last couple months, so I finally got around to checking them out. I like Impossible a lot, the beat is solid, and the MC's do fine work telling their stories of going for theirs in the rap biz. No Where is also pretty solid (is it just me, or does it sound a lot like this one here from Spesh K?) with some similar, introspective subject matter. The other songs on their myspace are a little bit on the "I will do you physical harm up in the club" tip, and I don't go in as much for those these days, but I like these songs, for what that's worth.

I've talked about Louwop a couple times on the hill, so I'm going to let you check out those posts if you want more detail on what he's about. I'll just say that I think he's a great MC who rhymes with the kind of hunger, and with the kind of subject matter, that any golden age aficionado would appreciate. This song is a remix of a track from his last release, The Great Escape, and it features fellow Torontonians Roach Uno and Theo 3. Good stuff.

I've also written about D-Sisive a number of times, just in the last year alone, as I'm a big fan of his, so even though I was surprised by the direction he's taken with this new, I shouldn't have been. After all, considering some of his most recent work found him sampling Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, I shouldn't be shocked to hear him crooning the chorus of his new track over a guitar-heavy beat. It's different, but it's good, so I'm intrigued to hear what his full length, Let The Children Die, is going to sound like.

Bonus Time:

I needed some non-TO content on here, and so, although he currently lives in Toronto, Wordburglar is Halifax through and through. This is some kind of alternative Canadian anthem he did for CBC radio show GO, and like most of the WB's work, it's enjoyable. After all, any song that features cuts by DJ Moose Donair and a shoutout to Roch Voisine, is pretty excellent by default. Plus he keeps it Riel, and that's always a plus.


TONA f. Tenisha - MAJOR

Tru-Paz - Young Nation

Empire - Impossible

Empire ft. Jay NY "Impossible" Directed by: The Sharpshooter from The Sharpshooter on Vimeo.

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