Published Nov 09, 2013Edmonton, AB comedy rap duo Kemo Treats return with their sophomore album and little has changed since their 2010 debut, Straight Gold. On The Essentials, rappers Smoovie II Smoov and G-Wizard tend to focus on braggadocio, food and booze, and just having fun, all with a tongue-in-cheek mix of hardcore gangsterisms and hints at homosexuality that mock the overt masculinity of hip hop. The lyrics are witty but not complicated, with a tight, smooth delivery that sometimes verges on singing.
The duo relies a fair bit on vocal effects, but the abundance of auto-tune is well-suited to the mostly West Coast g-funk and club jams of producer Eleazar, with assistance on two songs from Climaxamillion. The beats are crisp and clear, readymade for radio or club play. The highlight is opening track "Textin' On The Dance Floor," a groovy dance tune about "a douche texting on the dance floor" with auto-tune put to good use on the chorus and on background harmonizing throughout, and it almost earned them a spot on Canada's Got Talent.
Latest single "Chips In The Hot Tub" is a close second, with a funky beat over which they tackle two of their favourite subjects: chips and hot tubs. For those who like well-made hip hop that doesn't take itself too seriously, The Essentials, kind of like the Lonely Island without all the celebrity cache, is the album for you. (Independent)