Spesh K Big Special's House

Obviously familiar with branding, Spesh K titles his tenth album after his two-year-old IndieCan Radio show, on which he plays Canadian content hip-hop, both underground and more mainstream. And if he doesn't have an intro for his show yet, "Welcome Y'all" would serve well as the intro there too, establishing the welcoming environment of the house Spesh keeps. On record, that house is built out of songs about hip-hop, booze and bud, making moves and a pair of love songs featuring both sides of that relationship coin during the more meaningful latter half of the album. The beats are either big, mid-tempo head-nodders or mellow, R&B-inflected slow jams, most by Spesh K's special weapon, Rayne Drop; his highlight is the one-two punch of the slow, warped "Funky," followed by the drum-and-recorder minimalism of "ABG." The twinkly, new age keys of DJ Heights, combined with the African and island vibes of "Cant Stop Me Now," make for a good transition into acoustic stoner anthem "I Wanna Get High." It's a strange flow, but it works. On the very next song, "Rock With Me," Sadat X steals the show with a phoned-in, but funky verse. The latter half of the album may be rap ballad-heavy ― only Philthy Pro's creepy synth beat for "I Got This" stands out ― but at least the front half has a few keepers and some successful experiments. (Independent)