Various Fit For Survival Volume 1

Remember the Rap Essentials compilation series? The first two volumes pretended to represent Canadian hip-hop while just imitating the U.S. Future volumes became an even bigger joke, using American artists to try and sell the Canadian product. Good compilations of Canadian hip-hop are hard to find, but they do exist. In steps Brougham Records, who released last years Prime Time soundtrack, to help fill this void. But, like most compilations, all is not butter. There are too many tracks with more emphasis on bounce than ingenuity, however, creative additions to the formula by Mobius ("What Out" and "Civil War," among others) and Classified, with his one track ("It's Pretty Obvious"), take it that one extra step. The MCs don't always succeed either, but with a mix of more established and lesser-known Canadian artists, there is bound to be something to interest everyone. And that brings us to the first aspect that makes Fit For Survival a better representation of Canada: Brougham Records has actually dug around under the surface a bit to expose some new talent. Alongside more established artists like Citizen Kane, Mood Ruff and Dan-e-o, they have included abstract artists making daring attempts, like Vancouver's Birdapres and Jeff Spec, on the faux-double time of "Broke Street," or Ink Operated featuring Governor Bolts on "Independent Slaves." Secondly, it also tops Rap Essentials by including a wider range of artists, geographically speaking. Despite a heavy Vancouver presence, artists from Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Montreal and Halifax make this a more inclusive compilation. Other Canadian labels should take note. (Brougham)