Hilltop Productions Another Day in the Dirty World

Embracing all that is gritty and grimy, this effort from Toronto crew Hilltop Productions shows plenty of promise. Choosing to explore ominous head-nodding vibes reminiscent of mid-’90s crews like the Boot Camp Clik, this record thrives on its minimalist focus. While the music may at times evoke a gloomy ambience, the progressive and positive lyrical content comes through consistently. Lead MC Testament’s hunger on the mic is tangible and his insights on a working class existence ("Another Day”) and adhering to moral principles ("Dirty World”) are favourably mirrored in the bare bones production style. While the overall record draws strength from its blissful parochialism, the flashes of sonic flair exhibited by producers Ollie Knapp, Blaz and UZ on tracks like "Flow” and the trance-inducing closer "5th Symphony” ensures that while the inspiration of this record stems from everyday occurrences, it is anything but routine. (Independent)