May 11, 2022

Sweatshop Union - Natural Progression (2003)

Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: BAX 1026

© 2003 Battle Axe Records
This hip-hop and rap collective from Vancouver is a mishmash of styles and influences. The first tune, "The Answer," has an ethereal, ambient world flavor to it. Using inclusive lyrics, the song seems to suffer from a rather monotonous aura. Fortunately, a ska-cum-reggae tempo gets "Radio Edit" off the ground immediately in the vein of A Tribe Called Quest. There are some brief interludes such as "Newsflash" that are inane, but unfortunately the lighthearted jazz vibe on "I Got News" doesn't go anywhere. It sounds like a song Moby has a fleeting notion about recording but immediately passed on. "Don't Be Afraid" has much more groove to it, recalling fellow Canadian band Swollen Members or Cypress Hill with a subtle Oriental seasoning on top. The social commentary wanes on "Today" with cliché rhymes that seem to repeat earlier verses later on. "US" is a more concise and effect number that includes Rob the Viking and part of presidential speeches. "Baho Ang Titi Mo" is a funky instrumental that adds little to the proceedings. What happens far too often though is that the rap sounds distantly like Weird Al Yankovic, especially on the indifferent "P.O.T.B." and the bawdy, horn-filled "On the Sly." A couple of the closing efforts fare far better such as the hand-clapping mid-tempo rap of "Stolen Memories" and the Everlast-like "The Thing About It." But there tends to be as many misses are there are hits.

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tags: sweatshop union, natural progression, 2003, flac,