Factor/Various Famous Nights and Empty Days

The hardest working producer in Canadian hip-hop right now has got to be Factor. It seems like his last compilation of tracks produced by himself just recently dropped, and after that there are the numerous collaborative albums on Side Road Records that has him as the sole man behind the boards. Yet Factor once again returns with a compilation of tracks from the best in the Prairies, including an ever-expanding roster of Cali and Seattle rappers like Awol One, Akuma, Joe Dub, and other members of the Shapeshifters and Oldominion. Factor favours smooth, laidback productions with an emphasis on piano and strings, which works well with the predominantly introspective rhymes. The sombre mood over the 21 tracks can become a bit much after a while, but Epic lightens the mood with his odd little references and metaphors on "The City” and his collaboration with Candy’s .22, who are also willing to crack a smile on "Out of the Loop;” and Def3 ("I Can’t Put My Finger On It”), Existereo ("We Don’t Fight Fair”), Ira Lee ("die”) and the posse cut "Happy Hour” all pick up the tempo and/or mood of the compilation. Factor has put together another fine display of Canadian talent likely to get more exposure thanks to the heavy appearance of American artists. Plus, it’s nice to see Factor giving props to local graff artists with the inclusion of some of their work in the CD booklet. (Side Road)