Plex Brain Storm

A couple of times on Brain Storm Plex makes reference to an old crew that are no longer down, and with "Freeway" he reveals how he plans to get his revenge: "If my homies can't show me love they can all sit back and watch me shine up above." Success is always the best payback but the song also expresses how difficult that can be and how much hard work it requires. It may be a lot of hard work but Brain Storm is a great solo debut for Plex, who has long been a member of Won 18, the gritty rap crew he helped co-found. What will most likely hit his detractors hardest is his winning for the Best Hip-Hop Single at the North American Indigenous Image Awards for "Spare Change," featuring Rellik and Touch (who both make a number of appearances on this album), as well as Leemai and Raven Kamatakta. It's a mellow track with a little bit of country appeal thanks to some twangy guitar and fiddle but more importantly, it's the positive message that calls for change that makes it such a standout. A few other tracks get a bit of that country vibe and there's a lot of singing on the hooks, but Plex varies the sounds quite a bit, with Just B bringing a ska vibe to "The Way It Should Be," Darp Malone's chorus lending "Grateful" a smooth soul vibe and then there's a whole bunch of dark, dance-y synth tracks. Positive lyrics with a nice variety of beats? Now that's a brain storm. (New Leaf)