Factor Three

Factor’s third album opens strong with a short, smooth and very tight cut and paste intro that sets the stage for Three. Like his previous two albums, Con-Soul Confessions and Time Invested, Factor lays a mellow foundation of beats for his fellow Saskatooners, as well as a few other Canucks and Yanks, to rap over. The problem is that a lot of the songs blend together due to similar sounds and tempos, as well as a few MCs that just don’t stand out enough. However, there are some great exceptions. Nolto is just steps away from singing his depressing raps over the album’s fastest cut, "Swimming Lessons” and Dead Can’t Bounce’s Ira Lee is seriously funny on the piano-heavy "Grip,” but the twisted b-boyisms of Awol One over the drums and flute loop of "Try” makes for the album’s best track. Those behind the label are obviously aware of this, dropping it to seven-inch vinyl. The three posse cuts are also worth hearing. Cam the Wizzard and Vizion are good on "What Up Sun,” but Dead Can’t Bounce kill the track. Epic outshines M.Phasis and Vizion on "What’cha Gotta Say,” giving Awol a run for his money with just one verse and "Relashe (remix)” quickly gives you a taste of the varied members of the Side Road crew. Damn, this could make a nice EP. (Side Road)