Volume 93, Issue 46

November 19, 1999


Weekend Pass

Rahzel doesn't forget his Roots

Canadians are getting a sweet taste of Choclair


Crows give good show, despite early flight

Canadians are getting a sweet taste of Choclair

Ice Cold

Before his 1996 Juno Award for Best Rap Recording, Canadian solo rapper Choclair had only released a few underground cuts which, although garnering him quite a respectable following, did nothing to cash in on his wealth of talent. At long last, however, he has released his full length debut and seems poised to make a name for himself both in Canada and abroad.

Ice Cold's best effort is definitely the maddeningly infectious "Rubbin'," aided by the exceptional talents of another Toronto rhymer, Saukrates. Metallic horns and muted funk guitar chords run in and out of the duo's lyrics, which hit every beat with almost machine-like efficiency.

Choclair is careful to include homegrown talent on the album, which is destined for an American release sometime in the new year. Canadian guest rhymers include The Rascalz, Solitair, Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black, keeping hope alive for another group collaboration with the same appeal of "Northern Touch."

Marking Choclair as the next great solo Canuck rapper may be a tad premature, for Ice Cold lags more than it heats up. However, if combined with improved lyrics and an advanced style of mastering, his talent is sure to turn a few ears on both sides of the border.

–Luke Rundle

Chuch Prophet
The Hurting Business
True North Records

After kicking around the music industry for nearly 20 years with relatively little success, California-based guitarist Chuck Prophet has released his fifth solo album, The Hurting Business.

This album sees Prophet continuing the bluesy, southern roots rocker style he adopted in the early '90s, although he has updated his sound with the use of subtle scratching, electronically processed vocals and machine generated drum beats. For the most part, this experiment works and remains unobtrusive, but there are a few instances where Prophet over indulges.

Songs such as "It Won't Be Long," a slow blues number and "Apology" are simple and more traditional than original, however he sounds particularly inspired on these songs and turns in some of his best guitar work.

The album's highlight is without a doubt the dirge-like "Dyin' All Young," which melds a soulful groove to a percussive beat and boasts the presence of an anonymous rapper. It's a sad, powerful song which deserves to be heard.

The album's main fault is its lack of variety – most songs follow the same mid-tempo formula. While this serves to accentuate the strength of The Hurting Business' best tracks, it makes for a hit and miss affair – more pleasure than pain to be sure, but not an entirely gratifying listen.

–Aaron St. John

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Copyright The Gazette 1999