Teekay / Various Psyychology

Calgary, AB isn't generally known as a hotbed of hip-hop talent, so it's not surprising that media and fans would ask the members of Calgary's biggest rap group, Dragon Fli Empire, to shed some light on the scene and its artists. To answer that question, the rapping half of the duo has put together this compilation. Fully produced by Teekay, his throwback beats are reminiscent of Native Tongues and Hieroglyphics, with a number of familiar samples from that Golden Age of hip-hop. Teekay also makes five vocal appearances (two solo) and his confidence and skill as an MC are evident alongside the fluctuating skill levels of the other individuals on the album. "Psyychology," with A.Y.E. and Teekay, is a highlight and a good choice for first single. It also opens the record, while its slightly mellower remix closes. In between are a bunch of good songs, even if a few are held back by lacklustre rappers with bland, basic flows. Still, Humble Giants impress on the slightly up-tempo "We Do It"; Natural Ensemble are nice on the sleepy "Wasted Dreams"; and as the best known MC aside from Teekay, Cam the Wiz is dope, as expected, on "Out of Range." With its much faster tempo, Jazzlib Collective's "T.K.L.I.B." is a nice change of pace, and the "prime minister" cuts King Cole uses for Bedroc Oxtail's "Sinista Prime Minista" are what make the track. Psyychology is a good introduction to the Calgary hip-hop scene, but it would have been better served with greater quality control. (MakeBelieve)