Royce Birth I Quit Hip Hop

From the instant the pounding drums kick in at the beginning of album opener "Ballad of a Struggling Artist" through the rest of the self-produced I Quit Hip Hop, Toronto, ON rapper/producer Royce Birth indicts the current state of hip-hop while trying to find his place within it all. For "Ballad," a sparse track primarily composed of the aforementioned drums and hand claps, Royce plays off the cliché "don't quit your day job" to go in on wack rappers, advising them in his loose, laidback, smooth flow to quit hip-hop instead, and then decides to call it quits himself due to the lack of support for hip-hop on the drum- and organ-driven "I Quit." However, like many struggling artists who do it for the love of, he reverses the decision on album closer "Special," an ode to paving your own road over a '70s-style funk rock beat, where he raps, "Every time I want to quit I'm turning back again." As well, he talks up his history and talents on "Endorse Me (Presidential MC)" and claims his spot alongside DJ NaNa on "Catch A Grip." Most interesting amongst the seven tracks on this free EP is his attack on the Canadian music industry. After a confusing, disappointing verse from guest Mikeraphone (he's capable of much more), Royce complains about the lack of support from the fans, the media and the industry ― and it's all true. Those who dig smooth beats, banging drums and laidback raps that say something should follow the solid suggestion of Royce Birth and "support your local talent" by downloading I Quit Hip Hop. It's free, so what have you got to lose? (Third Charm Media)