Various Abstrakt

This vinyl compilation is a combination of like-minded, independent hip-hop artists from the Prairies coming together to bring attention to themselves and their scene through strength in numbers. The 403/306 side, which represents for Saskatchewan and Calgary, AB, opens with Dragon Fli Empire's jazzy throwback track "Headphones," with a smooth, comforting flow from Teekay and tight cuts by Cosm on the chorus. Following is "Though Process," with another nearly-sombre Soso beat and some quirky storytelling from Epic in his infamous quirky flow — probably the funniest and most leftfield track here. "Cafeteria Food," the jazz-inflected title track from Ira Lee and Factor's very soulful collaboration album, ends off the first side. Ira Lee and guest rapper Cam the Wizzard offer up a bittersweet slice of high school life. The 780 side, repping for Edmonton, opens with the dark, grimy "It's the SP12," which is Touch & Nato's thesis of skills over sales in hip-hop. With "Edmonton Classic," Shortop and guest rapper Chaz brag and shit-talk over a jazzy, mid-tempo offering, fading out with a humorous phone message. And finally, "The Lost Road," is another braggadocio track over a crazy, keyboard-heavy beat with quick stabs of pitched-up soul-singing. While these may not have been the tracks I would have chosen from each artist's respective catalogue of music, it is still a great selection of tunes that does the Prairies proud. (Abstrakt)