Backburner/Various

For those of you thinking about putting out a mix-tape to promote your new material, you’d be well-advised to check out Backburner’s crew debut. They’ve done everything right, and it shows. Uncle Fester mixes a nearly flawless blend of (mostly) classic old school instrumentals, both American and Canadian. Thesis may have been absent from the recording sessions, but the rest of the crew’s rappers — Johnny Hardcore, Jesse Dangerously, Jay Bizzy, Ginzu333, Wordburglar and Fester — flip the tracks with controversial battle raps, skills-flexing, politics and humorously cool homage. Of the latter, Jesse Dangerously impressively pulls off B-Real over "Real Estate” and Method Man over "The Rockwilder,” Jay Bizzy does CL Smooth over "Down With the King,” and Wordburglar is best at getting down the "Broken Language” thing. But, most of the time the six rappers are flexing their own unique styles and tight raps. The final ingredient is cuts added by DJ Beef, who delivers a short scratch routine near the end with "Wildstyle (The Krush Handshake)” as a backdrop. What Have You Done For Rap Lately? is a well-organised project that comes off as very professional and entertaining. Plus, it’s available as a free download at www.purpleoctogon.com/backburner, and they condone burning multiple copies so there’s very little excuse for this not to be in your collection.