Waffle and Divinyl Off the Iron

The debut from London, ON's Waffle and Divinyl reveals a classic rapper and DJ/producer duo, demonstrated best on the opening of "Tough Audience," where Divinyl's cuts interact with Waffle's words. Divinyl's throwback beats play to Waffle's strengths with mostly faster, groovy headnodders that appear designed to create a hype live show. Waffle's traditional flow is simple, but effective as he confidently and clearly delivers his lyrics. Yeah, Waffle is another one of those rappers rapping about rap, but it's not wack rappers or how dope he is. Instead, his first-person narratives offer listeners a peek into the life of an artist struggling at something they love. While "Tough Audience" examines the role of the MC on stage and the struggle to win over the crowd, following track "The Process" is an ode to that all-important audience. "Common Purpose" is almost a blueprint to the evolution of a rapper, and along with "Soundcheck" and "Up and Up," reveals his reasons for rapping. Hometown vets Chokeules and Timbuktu are tapped for separate guest appearances, with Choke on "The Process" and Timbuktu as the highlight on "Natural Selection," an ode to physical product like vinyl and CDs over disposable digital music, as well as on nostalgic posse cut "Flashback," also with Fingerslim (of Soundminds and Mullet N' Steps). Off the Iron may not be groundbreaking, but it's still a fun album that offers a fresh perspective into the life of an MC. (Independent)