Published Mar 21, 2014Vancouver rapper-producer Sythe has released music as a member of ILL-Legitimate since helping found the international rap collective over ten years ago, but his recently released self-titled album is, surprisingly, his debut as a solo artist. With so many guests and a few tracks that don't even feature Sythe on vocals, the album almost serves as a producer compilation, except that three of the 12 songs are not produced by Sythe. Guitars and interludes sampled from rock musician interviews unify the album, the former of which marks more than half the songs; Geoff Wickberg's guitar serves as the centrepiece to Sythe's chill ballad "Just You," the bluesy duet "Let It Rain" with Soevv and the mellow political posse cut "Burn Down."
Guitar even figures heavily in Metawon's beat for "The Getaway," while Nicky Scarfo's "Stay Sharp" features plenty of guitar noodling. It's a nice touch that holds it together, but the songs without guitar are just as enjoyable, and fit the album fine. After a too-long intro are battle tracks "2020 Foresight" and "Crazy," both with ominous beats (although Metawon's crunchy, soulful one for the former makes it a definite winner as the album's opening vocal track), and "In The Dungeon," on which Jeff Spec jams a jazzy solo that ends in a violin freakout. Other guests on the album include Matt Brevner, Bound2Be, Attikus, Inkspill and Sythe's ILL-Legitimate homies.
Whether solo rap album, producer compilation, or somewhere in between, Sythe has compiled a great collection of songs for his debut. His only misstep is the aforementioned interludes, which just distract from the already great music. (Independent)