Mr. OK Men Mwen

For years, Canada underperformed in the sales category and overall mindset of world fusion. Half-baked ideas would suck up grant money and spit out little of musical consequence. Lame beats, imitated ethnic chants and a sense of benign chill are finally starting to be replaced by more vigorous hybrids. Mr. OK's Men Mwen, the first release on Montreal's Masala label, is a breath of fresh air. It's hip-hop, first and foremost, but richly displays its Haitian heritage, both melodically and rhythmically. Production-wise, it's a collision between veteran Montreal beat scientist Freeworm and Port Au Prince's Benkele, with a remix from Chief Boima ("Yaya"). Snaky guitars, percussion and synth horns weave around cavernous, dubstep-worthy bass in a way that's original, hooky and tough. OK's smooth, low register flows effortlessly over the beats. This might never get classified as "world fusion," but that's a good thing. (Masalacism)