Michael Rushden Fiero

Michael Rushden Fiero
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For his third solo release, six-song EP Fiero, Vancouver comedy rapper Michael Rushden focuses on fast cars and fast women; even when neither is the main subject of the song, as on final songs "Don Docksteady" and "Blow the Whistle," they still make plenty of car and girl references. The comedy isn't blatant, as it comes more from the situations of the stories rather than through punchlines, such as the absurd fashion interests of a potential lover on "Dodge Ram Bandana."

Rushden's lyrics tend towards heavy wordplay, and his delivery is usually pretty on point, with only a few rough patches caused by too many or too few syllables in his bars. While the rapper has been joined on previous albums by the likes of Jacky Jasper, MC Paul Barman, Moka Only and Baba Brinkman, on Fiero, he is joined exclusively by his Rushden & Diamonds partner Lord Diamonds on loose girl love song "Lucy" and highway ode "Coquihala," the latter of which also features Dylan Ross.

Diamonds and Ross also provide the production, a hip-hop mix of funk, electronica, video game music and '80s pop sounds with lots of revving engine samples. The simple hooks are kind of catchy, often with funky singing, and DJ Weezl (previous tour DJ for Cadence Weapon) provides some excellent cuts. Hip hop purists may have an easier time accessing Rushden through his first two feature-packed albums, but those who like humour in their rap or want some party tunes will likely enjoy Fiero. (Volunteer Media)