Various Fishin' In Troubled Waters

Says internet site Hip Hop Infinity of Fishin' In Troubled Waters, their debut release as a label, "We didn't want to just haphazardly throw together a collection of songs, but instead we selected pieces with a shared vision/theme." The result is a collection of introspective rhymes and mellow, soulful instrumentals with heavy emphasis on bluesy saxophone, acoustic guitars and the plink-plunk of piano keys, accompanied by many thick bass lines. The two noticeable exceptions to this mellow sound are "Ground Zero" and "Rotten Apple." Erosadis's "Rotten Apple" contribution is good, but Genelec & Memphis Reigns's "Ground Zero" not only stands out from the rest as a bit different but also as a bit better. And despite the laid back beats on the rest, Canadian MCs Birdapres (on mcenroe's "One More Tomorrow") and Pip Skid (on "I Rap, You Listen") keeps the tempo up. Add in their honest expressions and honed expertise and you have two more of the compilation's highlights. Soso's "Blessed," featuring Epic, is also a great moment, due largely to the third verse, which sees Soso change up the beat and direction of the song. Near highlights come from FuseONE, who could have used louder drums on "Trail of Despair," Mars ILL, whose MC, Soulheir the ManChild, gives his best over a rather bland DJ Dust beat on "My Life" and from JAQ's "Testament," with a catchy beat and positive message, but JAQ sounds too similar to Guru, one of the least interesting MCs in hip-hop. Fishin' In Troubled Waters is a better than average compilation, with more than half its songs being good. If you like honest, introspective lyrics, you'll be glad they rapped and you listened. (HHI)