Friday, August 21, 2009

Reviews:: Something Good - Just Add Water

Something Good
Tell me something good. For most, that sentence brings to mind a sultry entreaty from Chaka and her friends Rufus, but if you're a hip hop fan of a certain vintage (like myself), it can also serve as a plea to many of today's hip hop artists, who all too often deliver something quite the opposite of good. But all is far from lost where hip hop is concerned, and we can be thankful that hip hop's next generation still contains folks like the four dedicated lads in the Halifax/Montreal collective, Something Good.

Consisting of MC's Boy-ill and Markit, DJ Y-Rush, and producer Focus Aside, Something Good sees four (or perhaps six, as I think SG has added two new permanent members in guitarist Alex Meade and bassist Oliver Cluett) talented members of Halifax's hip hop scene (I think Markit is currently based in Montreal for school reasons) join forces in the name of making quality music that sounds thoroughly modern, but still pays major respect to the classic hip hop they were so clearly influenced by. And they do that classic hip hop proud, as their debut, Just Add Water, is really a great album.

Despite their relative youth, Markit and Boy-ill are both veteran mic rippers, having been at it for years both as part of Fax-4 and as solo artists (I reviewed Markit's last solo album a couple years ago). They have slightly different styles, with Boy-ill having a classic, charismatic east-coast influenced flow, whereas Markit is a little more off-beat and scientifical, but they compliment each other very well, their years of performing together paying off. Y-Rush has a rep as a hrad working club DJ here in Halifax, and he lives up to that rep here, packing the album with one classic scratched-in sample after another. Focus Aside is the one name I hadn't heard before, but he deserves plenty of kudos - his beats are really well done, and they keep the momentum of the album going strong across it's fifteen tracks.

The album starts very strong, with Did That serving as a great intro to the Something Good sound: the MC's happily tackle the addictive piano & horn based beat, with each one doing a verse before they trade lines back & forth on the third, while Y-Rush scratches everything from Lauren Hill to the awesome "da-ticka-da-ticka-da" part from Common's The Light. Rules Of A Star has a rather different premise for hip hop - offering advice on how to keep one's ego in check, but it's also a great sounding track, with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a Guess Who song. Focus Aside shines again on True Fist as his late 90's sounding banger reminds me of something you'd hear from Jedi Mind Tricks. The dreamy beat on Amazement is a bit of a change of pace, but it suits Markit and his philosophical flows to a T.

The jazzy boom-bap of Define Rap Quotable features a guest verse from the always welcome Ghettosocks and also contains a brief Dream Warriors sample, which is always welcome, and a dead giveaway that you are listening to a Canadian hip hop album. Grow also has another great beat, with some slower-paced piano paired with peppy percussion and xylophone sounds providing the backdrop for a coming of age style song that features a perfectly used Ahmad sample near the end. In case you think the straight-ahead bangers are all Something Good have to offer, Funky Time, a 60's soul inspired ode to cutting a rug shows a different side of the group.

If you were to ask me to conclude this review with a nonsensical, golden age comparison, I would have to say that Something Good is like a modern day, melanin-deficient Ultramagnetic, with Markit as Kool Keith, Boy-ill as Ced Gee, Y-Rush as DJ Moe Love and Focus Aside as TR Love (that would, I guess, make Quake their Tim Dog, which kind of suits him). Is this comparison even close to being non-ridiculous? Well I guess you'll need to get yourself a copy of Just Add Water and find out. Or if you're in Halifax, check Something Good live at their release party at Coconut Grove Saturday Night, it should be a great show.

MP3:: Something Good - Did That

VIDEO:: Something Good - Did That

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Posted at 9:07 AM by naedoo :: 2 comments

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At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:



At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Markit did sayeth:


check out the Just Add Water CD Release show @ Coconut Grove SATURDAY AUGUST 22


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