Ira Lee and Factor Cafeteria Food

Dead Can Bounce’s Ira Lee isn’t just a rapper; he tells engaging stories about down-to-earth subjects like the pathetic nine to five existence of a "Used Car Salesman” or a child’s eulogy for an old dog finally forced to be put to sleep ("Magic”). He has an empathic knack for making these slices of life believable and understandable, and tells it all with a quirky prairie flow that is smooth, laidback, and threatens to break into song. To make it even better, Side Road’s in-house producer, Factor, hooks up the perfect blend of mellow and groovy hip-hop soul that runs the gambit from the up-tempo boom-bap of "People Think I’m Kinda Weird,” to the southern soul of "Donna Jones” and the love balladry of "Little Japanese Girl.” Heck, even the sped-up soul sample on "Empty Nights, Famous Days” works. In fact, there’s little to complain about with the tasty buffet of Cafeteria Food, a serious contender for the best Canadian rap album of the year, even if it isn’t the perfect album for your next party. (Side Road)