Friday, March 30, 2007

Red 1 - Beg For Nothing
Location: Vancouver, BC

As an hip-hop icon in the late nineties, I can't help but envision the transition to 2000 to be a struggle. Red 1, as a member of Rascalz, quickly came to rise as one of the premiere Canadian hip-hop groups by 1999. Back then, I remember chilling with their breakers, Zebroc and Dedos, talking Canadian hip-hop. As downloading has taken prominence and major labels continue to drop acts, the Rascalz are the latest victims. Now, their members are on the solo tip as DJ/beatmaker, Kemo, is steady on the grind and emcees Fit & Red 1 continue to keep busy.

'Beg for Nothing' unfortunately encompases the three main hip-hop stereotypes of drugs, guns and girls. I struggled to get beyond these played out themes, but knowing Red 1 is a veteran in the game, I gave it a chance. On 'Fantasy', he rescinded those previous played out themes, while exploring the illusions he's faced in this industry. 'Giving Up' is my favorite track, as Concise joins Red 1 in stating why they won't be "giving up" anytime soon! 'Shanty' also brings strength to Red 1's years of experience with a chorus that sticks in the mind. Kemo shows his muscle on the beats with one of my favorite party tracks of last summer, 'Dem No Worry We.' Overall, Red 1 has crafted numerous catchy hooks, especially on 'Red Lite' and 'She Rude.' Unfortunately his years of experience don't yield the well defined messages in his songs that I'd expect from a 15-year veteran.

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