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Time Machine

Life Is Expensive

(Glow-in-the-Dark; US: 20 May 2008; UK: 19 May 2008)

When the debut album Slow Your Roll appeared in 2004, it saw emcees Jet Set Jay (Jaysonic), Biscuit (then Comel), and the consistent beatsmith Mekalek join the ranks of People Under the Stairs and Blackalicious as prime examples of artistically viable West Coast indie hip-hop. While their sophomore album witnesses a shift for Mekalek from old school lounge to more party centered beats, the group’s status as essential conscious L.A. rappers is cemented. Mekalek’s production sounds like a series of instant singles and the rhymes, which take the album title to heart, strike a perfect balance between social responsibility, druggy spirituality, and the emotional baggage of modern life. The closing “Survival Kit” sums up the concept nicely with lines about finding your own way over light acoustic guitar and floating pads that wisp away till the last minute, when a vicious drum beat kicks in. Life Is Expensive is progressive hip-hop at its finest.

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Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


Tagged as: mekalek | time machine
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