Mixtape Report: Heatwave
The Masses Volume 1
Killawatt

Heatwave, Vancouver’s self-proclaimed “Fresh Prince of the City” does indeed bring a little heat to The Masses of Raindrop City with his new mixtape. It’s not all good, but it’s a solid effort chock-full of epic beats, sincere sentiments and the ballsy self-hype young rappers tend to spit: at times his slightly off-kilter flows sound like a less refined Nas.

Perhaps the most successful track is “Say the Word”, featuring Heatwave’s Killawatt counterparts Red 1and Lamar Ashe: Heatwave keeps sound company and it’s a good look for him. His drawling vocals on this track, combined with Lamar’s crisp melodies, display West Coast flavor at its finest. On “Fallen Star” sublime scales back Heatwave’s earnest lyricism – “if it’s knowledge that I got, I need wisdom” – it’s a little gushy but emotionally affective. “Paper Paper” is equally grandiose with its choral-based beat and thoughtful rhymes: “Paper, paper, tell me how you feel…Tell me why you make the poor people feel ill”. [read more]

abortmag.com

myspace.com/heatwaveteam

By Amalia Nickel

CD Review – Kardinal Offishall
Not 4 Sale
Konvict/UMG

“The Kardinal’s” fourth album, Not 4 Sale, comes with a hint of irony.  Already Canada’s hip-hop darling, the quintessential T-Dot rapper now reaches across the falls to the much more potent market of the U.S: “if you’re looking for me, I’m three hours from Michigan.”

The album features everyone from Akon (the executive producer of Kardi’s first full-length album on Konvict Muzik) to Rhianna to The Clipse.  Although some of the collaborators overshadow him, Kardinal Offishall generally stays true to the Toronto sounds, which he helped create; heavy dancehall synth beats, drawled rhymes and distant religious connotations. [read more]

abortmag.com

kardinaloffishall.com

By Amalia Nickel

CD Review: Raphael Saadiq
The Way I See It
Sony BMG

Raphael Saadiq’s third solo album does not merely revisit the sounds of Motown, it adds to the catalog.  It refuses to fall under the usual neo-soul genre by accurately emanating the rhythm and blues classics in tone, form and content.

Saadiq keeps it simple: bass, keys, tambourine and a smattering of strings and horns swell to his straightforward crooning: “No matter how good you are to people you know, they’ll make you cry sometimes.”  The simplicity of The Way I See It does not affect its versatility and Saadiq pays tribute to a variety of sounds. [read more]

abortmag.com

Raphaelsaadiq.com

By Amalia Nickel

CD Review: Michael Franti

September 16, 2008

CD Review: Michael Franti & Spearhead
All Rebel Rockers
ANTI-

The new album from musician/poet Michael Franti delivers what it says it will: Rebel Rock. Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica with reggae producers Sly & Robbie, All Rebel Rockers is an album for dancers and deep thinkers alike.

A mix of dub, folk, hip-hop and soul, the album features a solid team of musicians and singers to back up the rebel rocker himself. “Rude Boys Back in Town” is a classic in the making; traditional reggae instrumentation and back-up singing grinds with the dub beats and Franti’s grimy vocals. Cherine Anderson joins Franti on “A Little Bit of Riddim,” “Say Hey” and “Soundsystem,” bringing her smooth and soulful voice to the intense energy of Franti’s repeated and sometimes obvious statements like “I’m a human being, y’all.” [read more]

abortmag.com

CD Review : Doomtree

September 16, 2008

CD Review: Doomtree
Self-Titled
Doomtree Records

Doomtree, a hip-hop collective based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, represents the Midwest scene with a heterogeneous mix of influences. From punk to jazz, Doomtree is an expression of many musical facets, inherently blended with hip-hop basics. The collective’s diverse and undeniably talented membership produces heavy beats and rapid raps, sounding a little like their Minneapolis counterparts Rhymesayers. [read more]