February 09, 2020

Beat Factory "Rap Essentials" (Elements, Winter 1996)

"Rap Essentials Volume 1 is the first Hip Hop compilation consisting of Canadian artists ranging from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal." The compilation features Rascalz, Concrete Mob, Down To Erf, Kardinal Offishal, Black-I, Wio-K, Red Life, Dan-E-O, Scales Empire, Choclair, Citizen Kane and Ghetto Concept. While I enjoyed the second volume in the Rap Essentials series just as much, this was certainly a ground-breaking project in support of Canadian Hip-Hop. These compilations would go on to support Infinite, Tara Chase, Madlocks, Michie Mee, Marvel, Sic Sense, Crooks Of Da Round Table and lots more as well. I definitely point to Tara Chase as the stand-out artist from these compilations - the joint "Autonomy" (produced by Saukrates) still goes, as does her separate release, "Northside," produced by Merciless. It's dope that Elements Magazine covered the project as a Canadian publication, but interesting that they knocked some songs for lack of originality and sounding "WAY too New York influenced." In total, however, they praise the project and "the whole staff at Beat Factory for finally actually doin' something for Canadian Hip Hop music as opposed to all talk and no action by too many other people in the past or half ass lop sided projects no one ever heard about. Buy it. Do not front." These days Toronto (Canada as a whole) has a strong(er) presence in mainstream music, but it's always had raw talent in the underground. No screwface. Oh! and, Jay Swing and Flipout - editors of ‘Elements Magazine’, CiTR’s Hip Hop publication that lasted for 8 issues in 1995/1996 - are putting out a coffee table book to celebrate the mag's 25th anniversary! When I have more information on that, I will certainly put you on to it. Salute to them.

Check out the full review in Elements, Winter 1996...