Red Menace UnAmerican Activities

Aside from the highly successful Dope Poet Society, Toronto isn’t really known for its political rap, but that doesn’t stop the Red Menace (aka Liam Barrington-Bush) from stepping onto the scene with his commie-identifying imagery and lyrics. His debut twelve-inch takes on Uncle Sam’s participation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and war in general, with the help of Belladonna and Dope Poet front-man Professor D on "Sign Me Up For Your War,” which uses a live trumpet to create an effective bugle effect, while "I Don’t Wanna Wake Up” is a laidback track that criticises the Canadian government’s right wing agenda. Both are meaningful songs with decent production, but it’s the final track, "Unarmed Robbery,” that’s the real gem here. Featuring Notes to Self, "Unarmed Robbery” consists of a heavy, guitar-driven Bronze One production, slick cuts by 2003 DMC Technics World Champion DJ Dopey, and incisive lyrics from Swamp Donkey, Roshin, Bronze One and the Red Menace that explores the idiocy of over-priced name-brand clothing. It’s hard, it’s catchy, and it’s saying something without being blatantly political or preachy. In the future it would be nice to see more tracks like "Unarmed Robbery” from the Red Menace, or maybe a little something with his hip-hop/funk hybrid band the Establishment. (Independent)