It's been a long time coming but finally I have a cool blog that I can call my own. Most people reading will already know who I am. Discussions of hip hop and life will usually take place here when I have things to talk about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Time for a little album review.......

I thought I'd try my hand at reviewing an album. Plus, I figured I'd give Tarik some props up on here with a review of his crew's new disc Conquest. So here we go.

Dragon Fli Empire - Conquest
Calgary Hip Hop to many people seems like an oxymoron. Hip Hop there? Isn't there only country music and line dancing that goes on. To many people's surprise there is a small but vibrant hip hop community putting their unique perspective on it. Enter the Dragonfli Empire, one of the leaders in this community, and their debut album Conquest. The Dragonfli Empire consists of emcee Tarik aka. Teekay, and DJ Cosm who has kept the DF Empire on a high profile since he host a radio show over the local airwaves. Add to that a buzz from their track Mount Pleasant of the New Music Canada CD and a short little appearance on the national, the DFE could very well be the first group to really put Calgary on the map as a Canadian hip hop hotbed.
I should first mention that while this CD has recieved a full official release it is a reissue of an earlier CDR project with new songs (and a couple filler tracks dropped). Also the entire CD has been remixed and remastered to give it a better sound quality and nazzy new cover art has been done. Production is mainly done in house by Cosm and Teekay jointly with a few guest producer's, as well as emcees guesting jointly. This helps to create a smooth cohesive album that flows from track to track very nicely. The DFE for the most part like their hip hop with a touch of Jazz and Native Tongues meaning that this CD is a relatively easy-going laid back affair. Teekay's delivery compliments the mood very well, keeping the topics light and using a very conversational tone. "Beauty Full" is pretty much a day in the life for Teekay while taking joy in the little things that make up a good day. Cosm helps by creating a soundscape of jazzy horns and guitars over a slow boombap drum track. A few other tracks stick out in the mix: "Mount Pleasant" makes an appearance here, and is the first single off Conquest. It's not hard to hear why as Teekay and Cosm create a fun party atmosphere about taking public transit through Calgary. The standout track on the whole album is "From Under". One of the few beats not produced by the group, guest producer Nato comes up with something a little more harder with Teekay trading off verses with Edmonton emcees C-Plus and Shortop (Shortop also contributes the nice cuts on this track).
With all the good things about this album, there are a few weak moments. The production is too laid back in many respects with only Mount Pleasant and From Under really breaking out of that groove. The beats on several tracks also tend to stick in that same groove without a whole lot of change up, causing the track to sound tried and repetitive near the end of it. Teekay's delivery will also be an aquired taste to some as he rarely stays in a conventional rhyme scheme through the whole album. Coming across as a mellower version of Del or Sup the Chemist, sometimes his limited vocabularly falls a little flat on certain songs. Teekay has the potential and clearing hasn't reached his peak as an emcee as evidenced by Beauty Full 2.0 where he holds his own with Lightheaded's Ohmega Watts.
Despite all it's flaws, Conquest is definately an album to pick up, particularly if you've come of age in the era of socially conscious Native Tongues groups like Dela Soul and ATCQ. The whole album definately sounds at home in that era that many consider the best period of hip hop ever. Pick this up, slip it into your car stereo and cruise.
Stars ***1/2 outta *****

Ok, sweet huh. I just wrote that this morning and didn't really grammar check or anything so forgive me for the punctuation. Man Oh man.....whenever I do stuff like this I always tell people to take reviews with a grain of salt. Really do take the time to listen to listen to some samples to see if you like or dislike. And I'm gonna give you the link where you can go to hear a few tracks off this album.

That's about all to really say today, except that peeps better signal when they are planning on turning in there car. Next car that forgets to signal gets their tires slashed.


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