Akuma and Factor Dawn of a New Era

Dawn of a New Era, the second of three collaborative efforts between Factor and L.A.-based wackos the Shapeshifters, brings Akuma together with the owner and in-house producer of Saskatoon, SK’s Side Road Records. Factor once again provides a mostly mellow and laidback, multi-layered backdrop perfect for the introspective and melancholy raps of Akuma on the paranoid "Voices in My Head” and "Go Away,” the love ballad "Never Let You Go,” and the life lessons of "No Regret” with ‘Shifters Die Young and Liferexall (the latter working with Factor and Oldominion’s Barfly as Candy’s .22, the third of the Shapeshifters/Factor collaborations). But Factor also delivers a few banging beats for Akuma’s soul-shredding battle raps and fist-pumping anthems, like "Get Acquainted” with Doc Lewd and Matre, and the two cartoon-ish tracks, "Dawn of a New Era” and "Dig Dig Dig’ with Radioinactive and Awol One (the latter being the first ‘Shifter to collaborate with Factor on a Side Road seven-inch). But, regardless of beat or subject matter, Akuma’s gruff, baritone voice is easy to understand with a slow-paced, deliberate delivery that occasionally breaks into song; and combined with Factor’s very musical productions, Dawn of a New Era might just be the most accessible Shapeshifters release to date. (Side Road)