My Complex Hold This Down

Mr. Complex was one of the first MCs to capitalise on the resurgent independent hip-hop market in the mid-'90s, shifting a fair number of singles before things got overcrowded. Following up The Complex Catalog collection of his work from that time comes Hold This Down. It's clear from the get go that Complex wants to have fun and that he genuinely enjoys spouting his unique word-bending flow, in which words from one line form the basis of the next. Wisely realising this could become a bit repetitive over the duration of an album, Complex explores a variety of theme-oriented rhymes to mix with the up-front skills he displays. "Everybody Everywhere" finds Complex drawing on his film school background, vividly bringing to life the inescapable presence of hip-hop in everyday existence, and the mid-tempo love jam "Desire" features Clip, from Toronto's Brassmunk, on the hook. As he himself indicates on the previously released "I'ma Killit," the bouncy laid-back beats are what may draw you in, but his clever wordplay on this project may not hit you until later, making him an MC worthy of repeated listening. (7 Heads)