Various Legendary Gatherings

Montreal-based underground collective and label Island City Monsters come together to showcase pretty much what we’ve all come to expect from a group of your average Canadian MCs, turning in a fairly solid display of beats and rhymes with their Legendary Gatherings collection. Lyrically, the crew’s over-15 MCs balance their time well between cutting loose with typical battle-type fair, and actually relating stories and ideas, which happens to be where they truly succeed. Album opener "Humble Beginnings” kicks things off in this vain, with Memo highlighting the many steps it took to get where they are today, while "Fate” carries a message of applying yourself towards goals from three interesting perspectives. Similarly, concept-based musical ideas are the ones that grab the most attention here, as on the cipher-styled cut "The Bench,” which begins with one of the MCs organising a rhyme-off over producer Buttabeats beatbox in true park-bench fashion, before the live sound evolves into a fully blown studio cut. While you shouldn’t expect anything here to take anybody’s head off, Legendary Gatherings offers a good look at what’s going on in the Montreal scene. (Maple)