Max Prime & Jonb Hardly Novices

Edmonton, AB’s Max Prime and Jonb might be Hardly Novices, but only now are they debuting with a tight little EP of scientific and braggadocio raps. Although the rapid-fire lyrics scattered throughout the album — and most apparent on "Rapper’s Koto” — could have better enunciation, Max Prime has solid flows and interesting concepts. On "Backward Polaroid,” he relates an engaging tale of a boy with seven genetic mothers over a fun, piano-loop beat, and "Get Ripped and Try Dying” not only wins the award for best song title of the year but also serves to criticise thug rappers over a hard drum and violin production; the duo also have success with more drum and violin for "Take a Breather,” a classic flexing of mic skills. "Have at You,” another catchy battle track, continues Jonb’s modus operandi of a simple, catchy loop over slamming drums, this time with an oboe-like woodwind. While the production is minimal and the sound a little lo-fi, Max Prime and Jonb show a lot of raw potential with Hardly Novices. (Independent)