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Can-U A Stepping Stone N/A • 2005

Being independent ain’t easy but somebody gotta do it. Especially when you’re new to the scene, the struggle is on for recognition. But struggle means hunger, passion and determination, which results in real music, good music, the kind of music that’s drenched in sweat, blood and (sometimes even) tears of an artist. And that's the first reason why you should check out 'A Stepping Stone', the debut effort of Can-U, an affiliate of the Lightheaded crew and associate of Ayentee, comin straight out the Pacific.

The second reason is that this album contains plenty of nice beats, crafted by names that won't really ring a bell; Muneshine, Soul Mechanix, Blazematic, Tayo, John Huss, DJ Cast One, Nygh and Skwim. Eight producers for eleven songs, this means a wide variety of sounds. You’ll find jazz inspired tracks, up-tempo ('Run Can-U Run'), down-tempo songs as well as neck-snappers. An example of the latter kind is 'Can You?', a banger containing a melancholic loop, reminding of a 9th Wonder, Illmind or Jake One production, and rough drums with Biz Markie and Jeru samples. Can-U lays braggadocios vocals in a fresh way, 'The only time you rip is when you rest in peace' but mostly his lyrics are intricate, thorough, deep, in one word; honest. They tell a tale of struggling in life 'I always came from the worst of the slum, like Baahtin' and havin a big heart for hip-hop as exposed in the track 'Love Song' (featuring Tayo). 'The Breaking Point' is an excellent song on how to not take this life for granted and with a masterous cynicism and witiness, like it can be witnessed with artists such as Atmosphere, Can-U flips some tight lines over a mellow jazz piano-driven beat. So what more is nice? The album starts with the energetic ‘Push Weight', containing an up-tempo soul-funk loop and dealing with those topics I mentioned in the beginning of this review; the husstle to survive and to break through. The same topic is dealt with creatively in the nice and mellow but at the same time pretty pessimistic ‘Old Song’ ('My sister won’t even buy my music!') with nice metaphors 'My life’s just the same old song', but 'Hold on cuz tomorrow’s the borrowed sample of a past full of old songs'. 'The Fire' features Lightheaded’s Othello; both rappers rap over another nice production by DJ Cast One, featuring a whining female voice, guitars, some percussion, a violin solo and a few sound effects; Fre-s-s-h for 2005!

'A Stepping Stone' is a nice album by an artist that clearly wants to be heard. The music is genuine and honest and therefore a rare thing in today's hip-hop scene. If you're not acquainted with Lightheaded then all the names featured on this album will be new, but don't let that hold you down because this is music with a content and very nice production. Whether this album will be a stepstone to stardom is most unlikely but it would surprise us if this CD didn’t mean the beginning of a promising underground carreer, can you dig?


POSTED ON 07|27|2005 by cpf

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