Backburner Heatwave

Even though having everyone physically in a room at the same time happens less often than they would like, for far-reaching Canadian rap collective Backburner to drop crew project Heatwave is a noteworthy feat. Under the Backburner banner, a legion of rappers, DJs and producers have been dropping underground head-nodders for a minute. With a current ensemble that includes underground names like Jesse Dangerously, Thesis Sahib, Timbuktu, Chokeules, SJ the Wordburglar and More or Les, it's laudable that Heatwave retains a cohesive sound (delivered by a coterie of Backburner producers) while allowing each member their time to shine. If you're down with the Backburner crew, you're no doubt down with this 14-track album. Crew albums have the tendency to expose weaker members on wax, but there's scant evidence of that here. The Amy Winehouse shout-out seems mildly ironic on "Lifers," "Harm's Way" stands as a straight-up lyrical showcasing joint and cheeky bon mots ("Getting brains like Jackie Onassis") proliferate on standout "Show of Hands." Heatwave solidifies the maturing Backburner sound and is an indication of the fact that these dudes aren't leaving the scene anytime soon. (Hand Solo)