Various Homegrown

Grow-Op Records' debut release is a compilation that gives a good overview of the hometown of head honcho J-Ras. Homegrown cuts through a solid cross-section of Vancouver's hip-hop scene. Appearances from some big names, like Rascalz, Swollen Members and Moka Only, should help expose lesser-known artists to a wider audience, with Moka's "The Way the World Works" getting the treatment as the compilation's first video. Deserving of increased attention are Sichuan, J-Ras and Birdapres, among many others. Also included are new residents, like DJ Moves, Contrabanned and Josh Martinez, who contributes "BC Trees," his ubiquitous ode to his new hometown. On the other side of the scale is an appearance from Van-city pioneer the Incredible Ease, who revamps his "Break North" verse for "Incredible Stylin'" before handing the mic over to Rah for a completely different song. While Grow-Op has compiled a collection of songs that covers a lot of ground, for that reason it's unlikely most people will care for the whole album. Plus, there are a couple of questionable song selections and some unfortunate omissions. Still, Homegrown is undeniably a perfect introduction to the hip-hop scene of Vancouver. It's hard to imagine anything this well-rounded coming out of Toronto. (Grow-Op)