DJ Craze/Various Audio Research Presents Rugged Radio Saturday

Montreal’s Audio Research label has been steadily issuing extremely dope yet somehow underrated hip-hop joints for the last few years now, but this compilation of old and new label releases mixed seamlessly by the incomparable three-time DMC champion DJ Craze goes a long way to rectifying this situation. Fellow DMC champ DJ A-Trak and brother Dave One founded the label and have fashioned it as one favouring quality over quantity with a sonic penchant for East Coast boom-bap and contribute their own on-point production to the cause. Montreal’s own Obscure Disorder make a strong showing, despite the absence of their excellent "Maintain The Focus” single as they and group MC Troy Dunnit procure beats from the fraternal tandem as well as Simahlak, whose soulful head-ringing beats provide overwhelming evidence of his prowess. However, connections outside of Montreal are also utilised as NY’s Non Phixion fam join OD on one of the label’s most prominent joints to date, "2004.” The label has also connected with Toronto heads and DJ Serious provides the wizened lyrics of "screwface capital” representative Theo3 with an alluring concoction for "Snakes.” While Theo3 also impresses on the Simahlak helmed "Under Pressure,” the final say goes to the DJs, as A-Trak conducts a scratch symphony featuring turntablist royalty D-Styles, Q-Bert, Babu, Melo-D and to shut things down on this taut, impressive collection. (Audio Research)