Hand'Solo Records

MORE OR LES - "Nerd Love"

a1888647628_16.jpg

More or Les - “Nerd Love”

(Hand’ Solo Records)

Rapper More or Les releases Nerd Love, a hip hop album that speaks to the nerd in all of us. This release is an engaging listen full of killer beats and intricate narratives featuring sci-fi, comic book, and role-playing references, and some poignant moments that bear a closer listen.

The title track of Nerd Love is the thesis of this geeky ode, stating the importance of standing beside the things you love, even when others disparage those things as ‘nerdy.’ More or Les wants to create a safe space within the album where the listener can be themselves. He then skillfully weaves together a brilliant commentary of nerdy things that spills over into the rest of the album.

Whatever your nerd tendencies, More or Les has got your jam, including Roll the Dice, a song about playing Dungeons and Dragons, Picard Maneuver and Klingon Neighbors, two tracks that tackle the Star Trek franchise, and 22 Pages, which celebrates comic book culture. Each one of these selections is impressive, not only in the production and performance quality, but in the level of detail that is packed into every minute, displaying a true knowledge and respect of the material, making this a fun album to return to again and again.

Despite all the fun on this album, the standout track is Hidden in Plain Sight, which takes a break from the revelry of all things nerdy and geeky to address the important issue of under-representation of people of color in the entertainment industry. Far from a preachy social justice speech, Hidden in Plain Sight is a poignant and heartfelt essay that fits directly into the larger entertainment narrative of the album. By first expressing a love for a broad field of entertainment franchises, and then to bring to attention the less-than-progressive practices of the media companies that produce and profit from those franchises, More or Les is able to bring this issue to the listener in a directly accessible way.

Production on this release is fantastic, with clean low-on-sample hip hop grooves, and smooth beats. More or Les also unleashes a small army of guest artists, including Wordburglar, Nilla, Touch, MikeAll, Jesse Dangerously, MegaRan, int eighty, Mikal KHill, Timbuktu, and even a snazzy version of Fly Me to the Moon sung by Alezandria Coldevin.

Overall, I found myself repeat listening to Nerd Love. There are a lot of artfully loaded references to fandom culture that play over some brilliant producing. Nerd Love is available on digital, compact disc, and ‘futuristic USB’ from Hand’Solo records.

Gray Lee

https://handsolorecords.bandcamp.com/album/nerd-love

THE MIGHTY RHINO - "We Will No Longer Retreat into Darkness"

upload.jpg

The Mighty Rhino - "We Will No Longer Retreat Into Darkness"

(Hand'Solo Records) 

This is the second release from Toronto rapper The Mighty Rhino, following his 2011 release He Whom the Beat Sets Free is Free Indeed.

We Will No Longer Retreat Into Darkness is a polished, well-produced document of hip hop artistry that showcases Rhino's rhyming skills, as well as his bombastic attitude, and overwhelmingly positive spirituality.

No individual track on this album can represent the complete sound of it. Styles vary from entertainingly raucous bravado, to heartfelt ballads, to even gospel-esque ponderings on the nature of God. Rhino is an unbelievably positive force of nature who just wants everyone to be happy. It has been a long time since I have listened to a rap album that I enjoyed, or went back to, this much.

The title track of the album is its opener, a short song-poem that acts as a blessing for the rest of the record, but also sets a great tone of positive energy that is carried throughout the release.

"

The prophets come,
to bring joy to the world,
for this is the world of tribulation and torment,
and they come to turn the people away from these anxieties,
and infuse our lives with infinite joy

"

The beats that follow are fresh and durable enough to bear repeat plays. Rhino has a vibrant, larger-than-life style that is infectious in its joyous approach. In Establishing Shot, a piano loop leads into an aggressively heavy-as-a-rhino introductory rap. 

Anthemic rap earworm, Blue Suit Pimpin' is an instant hit, with a neck snapping beat and clever rhymes, topped with a easy-to-join-in chorus that you'll find yourself chanting at inopportune times:

"

I got a gimp limp and I'm blue suit pimpin'
blue suit pimpin'
blue suit pimpin'
I got a gimp limp and I'm blue suit pimpin'
I'll be blue suit pimpin' all day!

"

On infectious ballad, Stay Up, and tender breakup song, Every Atom, Mighty Rhino flexes his ability to shine on any style track. Backed by guests Prince Po, Myka 9, Adam Bomb, and More Or Les - We Will No Longer Retreat... is a powerhouse of Canadian hip-hop quality, offering the musical variety and audio mastery that will keep listeners coming back. Independent rap fans, grab this one up!

Gray Lee

 

https://handsolorecords.bandcamp.com/album/we-will-no-longer-retreat-into-darkness

www.handsolorecords.com