DJ Mel Boogie / Various DJ Mel Boogie Presents The L.I.F.E. Project

DJ Mel Boogie / Various DJ Mel Boogie Presents The L.I.F.E. Project
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This year marked DJ Mel Boogie's 25th anniversary in the Canadian music landscape, making her not only a veteran, but also a trailblazer. For the past two years, MelBoogie has been working on an album representative of some of the most talented rappers in Toronto, accumulating into her compilation album, DJ Mel Boogie Presents the L.I.F.E. Project.
 
In an uncommon — actually, never been done before — move, Mel Boogie has enlisted just women to flesh out her album, including veteran rappers Rah Digga and Eternia, as well as bourgeoning artists from the city like the Sorority (Haviah Mighty, pHoenix Pagliacci, Keysha Freshh and Lex Leosis) and LolaBunz. The result is a trip through golden-era boom bap production, some of which is reminiscent of a Wu-Tang album ("Hey Love"), some as introspective as a Immortal Technique cut ("Beautiful Struggle"), and some as melodic as a J Dilla beat ("Believe In Me").
 
However, what should streamline into a bass-heavy, thumping soundscape sometimes fails and sounds distant. Sonically, songs like "Get Up" and "Dear Self" fall flat against the front-forward "Hey Love" or "Undun," subsequently breaking the album into two different soundscapes. Technical details aside, the album still packs bangers: Eternia and pHoenix Pagliacci go head-to-head in a bar-for-bar battle on "Giants," Rah Digga shines on posse cut "Blazin'" and LolaBunz and Keysha Freshh paint the most vivid imagery on "You're All I Need."
 
Some missteps aside, each rapper featured on the 14-track album highlights their own individual strengths and dynamic powers, creating cohesive messaging and aligning their untapped lyrical prowess to create their own L.I.F.E. story. (Independent)