Moka Only Road Life

I'm not sure, but maybe Moka Only is no longer for me. When my favourite tracks on Moka's newest full-length, Road Life, are described by him in the liner notes as "not the most outstanding song" ("Madness," featuring Sunspot Jonz), "not a standout cut" ("Underbubblers"), "made... last minute" ("Most Prolific"), I really have to wonder. Even more perplexing is his use of the dopest, most creative beat - "Trackside" - as just that: a beat. If every beat on the album had lived up to the genuine brilliance of that track then Moka would have had a classic album on his hands. Instead, it's some hits, some misses and a few in-betweens. When the album falters, it's because of beats that are not powerful enough for Moka to truly flex his skills over. The winners succeed for the exact opposite reasons, they allow Moka (and his guests) to properly exploit the beat and do what he's best at - flow like Alice at Mel's Diner. Moka Only is probably Canada's most underrated MC. He has style, flow, lyrics and plenty of skills with freestyles; it's just a matter of time. Add to the above-listed four tracks the "rapped freely" investigations of "Detectives," the Jeff Spec-guested "Ya Baby, That's the Style," the funky "Good Times Stack," featuring Ishkan, the untitled bonus track and the "I can't hear you" of "La La La," and you'd have a top-notch EP. Road Life just gets too long. (Perilunar)