Published Jan 22, 2010Vancouver, BC rapper/producer Moka Only has always been diverse, dropping everything from dusty underground jams to shiny commercial songs, but Melba might just be his most out there yet, invading Kool Keith's turf. Most of Moka's beats for Melba are made with emphasis on the low-end of the keyboard, combined with chunky, head-nodding drums, although a few do crossover into sappy ballad territory. There are also lots of dusty, static, weird samples and sounds, and a carefree attitude. Joining Moka for this collaboration is Psy of Toronto, ON rap outfit the Oddities, and they make for a good fit. They might not be saying much, filling the beats with freestyles and fun raps about whatever comes to mind, even breaking into surreal dialogues and abstract noises, but they do deliver it with a conviction and style that make it engaging whether the two are rapping about eating repeatedly at McDonald's ("To Go [Let's Go]") or deconstructing song structure ("Where the Chorus Goes"). Moke and Psy are rapping for the hell of it on Melba, and though they sometimes go too far, their light-hearted enthusiasm for the art form on these 22 tracks is infectious. Melba might just be my favourite Moka Only project yet.
You guys have known each other for quite a while, so why a Nope album now?
Psy: We met back in summer of '98, I think. When I moved to BC that year, we would chill now and then, and songs just eventually happened. We're both music-minded, in that we'd rather hang out and talk or make music than do most other things, so there wasn't any real science to it. Eventually I think we just both felt like we're accumulating all these cuts, might as well throw 'em at people.
Moka: "Melba" is the fruit at the end of a track... when the earth drops away from the song and it goes into float-y orbit.
Psy: When we started doing cuts that we felt were keepers, Moke got in the habit of adding a lil' extra flavour at the endings of the tracks after we were done rapping, like to toast the piece, or pour some topping on it, and I just started calling it "Melba," like the dessert. Just a lil' something extra to sweeten the deal.
"It's Because I Don't Have Not Much" ends with Moka saying, "I don't know if that one's a keeper." It still made the cut, but was there anything that didn't?
Moka: I didn't think it was a keeper. I don't think any of it is a keeper. That's why I love it so much. Why rap when you can unwrap? There is one song that went way too far and maybe one day the world will get a crack at it. (Urbnet)