The Trillionaire$ By Hook or By Crook

Vancouver, BC rap crew Sweatshop Union attempt a marketing coup with their same-day release of three albums from different combinations of the group, and each is some of the best work from the Sweatshop. Produced entirely by Sweatshop Union rapper/producer Metty the Dertmerchant, the Trillionaire$ (his collaboration with Brass Tacks member Evil Ebenezer) is a collection of minimal beats fleshed out with fine details, such as door bells and ringing phones included at appropriate moments. Wild cuts add a bit of intensity to the mostly mellow production. And as the group name and album title imply, this is a concept album from the point of view of the ultra-rich who get there by any means necessary, with songs about theft ("Five Finger Discount"), ducking responsibility ("Howard the Duck") and just general douchebaggery ("Slumlord Trillionaire$," with Awol One). However, the highlight is "Wolf Boy," a catchy, self-explanatory tune that's closest to Evil's typical, horrorcore-tinged lyrics. And while the Sesame Street number song sample is always dope, few can match MF DOOM's "Kookies." Yeah, the loose concept may not be fresh (Mike Ladd already did it with the Majesticons), but the laidback beats and tongue-in-cheek lyrics make for a fun, accessible hip-hop album. (Urbnet)