For some reason, the trade of making music is particularly
appealing these days. The “record business” as we know it is dead, so that means that people from all over the
world are taking advantage of the opportunities to create their own movements.
Call it a musical reconstruction era of sorts, wide open for artists to release
their own albums independently, without corporate sour nothings in their ears, all
while reaping the benefits of industrialism and creativity. Among the millions
of novices taking heed to the message, a young cat from Toronto is looking to put his stamp on the
game, via a couple of 16’s and instrumentals.
Canada has produced a slew of talented artists, everyone
from Nelly Furtado to Jarvis Church, but it has yet to establish
a true, enduring Hip Hop presence. Maestro
Fresh Wes came and went, Saukrates
never got off Def Jam‘s shelves and K-OS‘ crossover magic hasn’t truly
penetrated the US. 20 year old producer Freeze looks to change that, as
his album, The Big Chill, is an assorted work that pushes the boundaries
of traditional Hip Hop. Mixing Southern syrup grooves, authentic boom-bap punches
and orchestral sweeps, The Big Chill is an unorthodox smorgasbord of a new
sound that Freeze hopes many will sit down and eat.
The album starts off with Swagger, a keyboard
driven intro featuring Freeze‘s main
collaborator, Cleveland rapper Doxx. Comparing their partnership to
famous duos like Puff and Big
and the Get Fresh Crew, Doxx lays it on pretty heavy
with his voice and style is reminiscent of a Midwestern Tony Yayo. You
Can Never Get Too High also features Doxx, but Young Fam
and Freeze’s brother Psy come along for the ride. Doxx
silly wordplay (“I’m a beat this beat like I beat my meat”) is laid
against Caribbean thumps and a musty guitar riff. As far as the lyricists on
the LP, they mainly cover the same topics familiar to today’s rappers, but Psy
shines as he and his brother share great chemistry on the tracks, Higher
and Take the Day. Clock Ticks breathes life into the
album, as emcee Kamau pushes the message to use time wisely, as it is
zooming by so quickly.
With his compositions Down Stream and Music
Please taking its influences from Jazz and Pop, the album is at its
best when Freeze goes solo. The Big Chill would have been a
great LP if Freeze would have used a bigger array of emcee’s who could
match him musically. Nevertheless, this album shows that the prince of Ontario
is a talented producer who has clearly studied the greats like Dr. Dre, DJ Premier and J. Dilla. With more material coming in 2008, let’s hope Freeze
continues to push his ice cold style, as pretty soon he could have the hip-hop world
rocking to a sample of O Canada.