Filed under: 12" Reviews
Next up from myself, we have three 12”s featuring purely Canadian artists. Canadian hip hop is as good, and sometimes better, than stuff from the neighbouring USA, and can easily live up to the hype. The 12”s I have picked are representative of the scene here, at least of when the music featured was produced. As with the genre in general nowadays, jiggy club music is preferred, but these 12”s are far from that.
Rascalz – Northern Touch
Firstly, we have a posse cut. This 12″ has been a favourite of mine since I heard it here on TV a few years back when I was visiting. It features The Rascalz, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust, Choclair and Checkmate. After reading some background on the release, it seems it is much more than just a record. It came at a time when black-Canadian artists were not recognised in the Canadian music scene, and the collaboration of some of the most prominent artists in Canada was a way of showcasing the fact that there was good music coming out of Canada at that time. Sampling a B.T. express tune (also used by DMX), each MC comes correct over the beat – it’s nothing more than a rhymefest put to wax, and it works really well. This 12″ touched heads all over the world, featuring in none of other than DJ Premier’s DJ box at the time it was released too – if he likes it, you’ve gotta be doing something right! Just have a listen, it will not disappoint…
Ghetto Concept – Deifitrec b/w Certified
Second up, a great 12″ by a crew out of Toronto called ‘Ghetto Concept’. Ghetto Concept are Kwajo and Dolo, who met in 1989 and went on to release 12”s and albums under this guise. This 12” was released in 1992. Deifitrec b/w Certified is one of those 12”s that never leaves rotation: timeless! You can hear the 1992 vibe in this record, the beats are jazz-sampling simple creations, with the two MCs trading bars back and forth. They have a great vibe to them and it fits right in with the era: call and response, rapping and singing the hooks, and always sounding like they are having fun. The ‘Certified’ remix is my favourite. Deifitrec is also a good cut, but i prefer the other side. I actually featured this 12” in one of my mixes so check out their other stuff if you like this, it’s sure to be of the same standard.
Saukrates/Choclair – Father Time/21 Years
Lastly, a great 12″ featuring two different artists and tracks: Saukrates with ‘Father Time’ and Choclair with ’21 years’. The two cuts make for a a solid 12″ from the days of indie hip hop. Saukrates represents Toronto, and this piano laced beat works perfectly with his rhymes. Saukrates is probably one of the most widely known rappers from Canada; his ‘Brick House’ EP features artists like Common which deomnstrates how respected he is as an MC. The best cut on this 12″, however, is from Choclair. Featured on DJ Premier’s ‘New York Reality Check 101’, it is an understated piece of work – a simple, bassline driven beat with Choclair and the pianos working well together to produce a great indie masterpiece; as mentioned previously, if DJ Premier likes it, you’re onto a winner. Choclair had an album come out a few years back but it wasn’t to my liking. I know that a few 12”s earlier were good, so check those out. For now, this is the 12″ for me!