Ice New Phenomenon

On his debut, New Phenomenon, Toronto’s Jamaican import Ice melts reggae in a glass of gangster and club rap. He has a sonic flow and unique delivery but to his detriment, the album suffers from monotony. There are 20 tracks, with two bonuses and two freestyles, but the trove of songs sound very much alike throughout. Some highlights are "Shot to Vest,” "The After Party” and "Power Cut.” "Girl on My Mind (Wipeout)” is especially addictive because he samples the Surfaris’ famous instrumental and hits the notes with an unlikely melody. The surrounding material is quite forgettable, however, and continues to explore the same "gangsta, gangsta” love themes. The so-called freestyles are actually just an excuse to use unfinished material. If they are indeed freestyles, then his skills are flush with his writtens. New Phenomenon needs to be filtered to just a few songs that really stick with the listener. As it stands, it’s too messy to get the frequent play it could earn with some discipline. (VDR)