Volume 92, Issue 71

Wednesday, February 3, 1999


View behind bars

Fiddlin' through history

Tuck overcrowds master

Academy Awards need to get in shape

Tuck overcrowds master

Soft Favourites of Yesterday + Today

Lo-fi Canadian trip-hop is the rather unconventional banner FryerTuck flies above their heads. They do a fairly good job of it, but appreciating their sound comes in part by forgetting all preconceived notions that trip hop must originate on the other side of the ocean.

Soft Favourites of Yesterday + Today is composed of quirky, lo-fi numbers, most of which are entertaining and enjoyable. A lot of the songs are in an unpolished, raw form, but possess a certain kitsch appeal. The trip hop feel is there, however it sounds as though it was recorded in a basement.

As a testament to its primitive aura, the album's songs lack the layered atmospheric sounds of today's more polished trip hop artists. The songs aren't as elegant as a Portishead album, but the experience is sonically pleasing nonetheless.

One rather amusing track is a live version of "All Canadian Trip Hop." It provides the listener with a peek into a live show by FryerTuck. Judging by some of the things said, the band members are running on the edge of sanity. However, being Canadian and trying to produce trip hop probably isn't conducive to a good night's sleep.

The production quality is low and the songs are on the edge, but if you overcome the initial laughability of Canadian trip hop this album could be a tasty treat in a brown paper wrapping.


Black Mafia
No Limit Records

For hip hop aficionados, the year 1998 will be remembered by one name only – Master P.

Although scorned by critics and fans alike for producing more cheddar than Kraft, one thing can be said with certainty – the man knows his product and his audience.

Like most of Master P's gems, Black Mafia, by the relatively unknown Steady Mobb'n, can be easily mistaken for a showcase compilation of No Limit's star-studded roster. Snoop, Mystical, Silk the Shocker, Gambino and Family and Sons of Funk all drop in to bust a few rhymes.

Black Mafia starts off with the refreshingly smooth track "Ghetto Life," which provides the laid back lyrics of Snoop contrasted against a backdrop of Marvin Gaye. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there.

"Bout Dat Mess" is a messy scream-fest, which proclaims Steady Mobb'n as the toughest bangers around. Not surprisingly, this is the central theme of the album. "Plead My Case" is the only attempt at socially redeeming lyrics, exposing the social treatment of blacks in the American justice system.

The killing spree continues until the mandatory low-key track is "Light Green and Remy," which provides a much needed break from the monotonous ranting.

Black Mafia is a low grade mix of bullets, guns, gangstas and profanity. Toss it to the bottom.


To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999