JD Era No Handouts

JD Era No Handouts
The best rappers are like curators: they take what's most inspiring from their culture and arrange it into something special, adding their commentary on top. Toronto, ON rapper JD Era (of Raekwon's Ice H2O label) does this some of the time on his new mixtape/project, No Handouts. He makes tracks like "I Need You," which samples the T-dot talent of singer Shi Wisdom and producer Burd & Keyz. Era raps (very well) about a woman who's so beautiful that she outshines the women she idolizes over a beat that belongs to the clouds more than any subwoofer or car stereo. Another standout is the title track, featuring Lokz. Rich Kidd provides a beat laden with Caribbean-inspired synths and celebratory horns, over which Era rhymes about being motivated and working hard rather than accepting handouts. These numbers, along with the numerous talents they showcase, make up the best parts of No Handouts. The rest of the project, regrettably, plays like a sampling of everything a Canadian rapper thinks they require in order to apply for a Green card: a pair of Lex Luger beats ("Yoga Flame," "Smoking Good"), a verse from Mac Miller ("Hate Me Later") and a Roscoe Dash-inspired hook ("Live for the Moment"). In most of his interviews, JD Era remains adamant that he's putting on for his city. So why doesn't he draw more from it? (Ice H2O)