Kemo Treats Straight Gold

On first song "Kemo Treats R Back," rappers Smoovie II Smoov and G-Wizard imagine their lives travelling in a time machine. And when it comes to the music of this Edmonton, AB duo, it serves as an appropriate analogy. Producer Eleazar provides a backdrop of throwback beats inspired by a number of different eras of hip-hop, especially West Coast rap and g-funk, although there are also references to NYC old school and the funkier, soulful Southern rap of the Dungeon Family. Smoov and G-Wiz are well suited to these sounds, the former with a stilted, old school flow, the latter demonstrating a smoother, sometimes sing-song-y Snoop Dogg style ― even doing an able imitation of that rapper for an interlude. Though the rhymes can be simple and obvious, the subject matter is often humorous, whether the duo are rapping about sex, the sacrosanctity of the pinky swear or going camping, all with a slight tendency towards spoofing gangsta rap and a running inside joke about chips. Hip-hop purists will be quick to dismiss them as a gimmick, but Smoov and G-Wiz just need a bit more experience to get their mic skills on par with their abilities at storytelling and trading verses. They could lose a few of the interludes though. (Eleazar)