Atherton No Threat

The release of Ottawa MC Atherton's No Threat has been plagued by a number of problems and delays, all revealed on autobiographical opener "Kid on a Corner," his potentially embarrassing genesis from young rap fan to an MC releasing his third album. Combined with a smooth Fresh Kils production, it's the perfect intro. And the concepts don't stop: "No Threat" reveals the white lies people use to get through life, but as always, they escalate to absurd levels; "True Math" demonstrates Atherton's knowledge of real world numbers despite his lack of high school math; and "Lights Out" is the story of a man blinded by the terrible sights we're all forced to endure daily. The majority of the production is handled by Atherton, who often opts for laidback, mid-tempo beats. However, most exciting are the exceptions, including the banging drums of "True Math" and the acoustic guitar that provides almost all of the instrumentation for break-up song "Miserable December," while "Jacob's Ladder" is anchored by woodblock drumming and that rare "additional instrumentation." There's also an anti-love posse cut, "Hate Her Face," with Pbrain and Patience, over a nice marriage of another hard beat with a light flute touch from Dave Wickland. And Atherton's anti-apathy attack, "Paul Simon Songs," features acoustic guitars and a flamenco flare that make for a fun finale to the album. Those wondering what happened to the message in hip-hop would do well to seek out No Threat, especially if you like your messages delivered with dry wit. (Vinyl Tap)