Relic Miles to Go

Toronto, ON's Relic is a true solo artist, putting in work over the last few years as an MC, producer and DJ, with an album and a couple of EPs under his belt (not to mention a recent beat tape). He follows this formula on his sophomore full-length. On opening track "Gone Clear," Relic raps, "Religious topics I'm not speaking, I just walk what I believe in." This isn't exactly true, as his born-again Christian beliefs and themes of spirituality figure heavily into the music, especially on testimonial track "Pocket Full of Change," although he's never overly preachy. At the same time, he also touches upon topics that include individuality and being yourself as an artist, hard work and perseverance, positive transformation and fatherhood alongside wicked wordplay and bits of braggadocio. Well-suited to his introspective raps and serious subjects, his production is mostly mid-tempo headnodders that combine thumping drums, keys (both piano and synth) and singing provided by a selection of sped-up soul samples, soulful guest vocalists and from Relic himself. Exceptions to this include "Down & Dirty," which features an up-tempo, hectic beat anchored by a funky bass line and a cut-up chorus for the intelligent sex raps of Shad and Ghettosocks, the former comparing his balling skills to bowling and the latter dropping enough comic book and sci-fi references to inspire a nerdgasm. While "Action Figure" has a big, banging beat that's the perfect backdrop for Relic's call to action. If you're looking for positive, personal lyrics with a laidback vibe, Relic's Miles to Go would be a good choice. (Rel McCoy)