Factor/Various Heights

Third time is certainly the charm for Factor with his newest compilation on Side Road Records. Once again, the producer from the Prairies puts up the beats to showcase a variety of unique Canuck artists (and non-Canadians, Cavemen Speak), but this time the songs are much more engaging throughout. Whether it’s a slow track like Soso’s odd ode to his grandmother, "Losing Elsie June,” or something more up tempo like John Smith’s road weary plea "Roadworn,” Factor contributes something suitable for each artist while keeping the beats, and by extension the album, moving forward. At 11 tracks, it’s a tight compilation without a low point. And while there are obvious highs with Josh Martinez, Def 3, and the above mentioned, Raks One ("The Time Is Now”) and Chance Won featuring Dro ("Life Is Real”) almost come out of nowhere with two of the compilation’s best tracks. Plus, the two posse cuts — "Did You Ever” and "Media Showers” — give some quick shine to a bunch of deserving rappers, and the Gaff rocks some great cuts amongst a cool Baby Spice Emma Bunton vocal sample on "How Ya Livin’.” Could this finally be the big break for Factor? (Side Road)