For a label whose roster boasts Classified, DL Incognito, D-Sisive and Moka Only, it’s hard to argue against Urbnet deserving a prominent place in Canada’s underground hip hop scene. On the third volume of the label’s Certified compilations, new tracks from artists, such as the latter two of the rappers mentioned above, as well as from some of the label’s newer acts, are put on display.
However, some tracks fit better on this type of compilation than others: for example, some tracks, such as Elaquent’s “On the Rise” and Plex’s “Warriors,” have more of a traditional rap feel to them, combining J. Dilla-esque beats with multisyllabic rhymes and solid flows throughout both.
That said, others might be harder for hip hop heads to really get into, such as the industrial-influenced “Funny N Raw” by Opopo and the jarring inclusion of Kae Sun’s “When the Pot,” an acoustic number that would probably be much more at home on a folk compilation. Perhaps the most interesting track lyrically is “Work Do To” by Perfeck Strangers, which laments the balance of power – or lack thereof – between underground rappers and big name acts, such as Drake (who featured on Perfeck Strangers’ original version of this track over two years ago), with the group going so far as asking, “How long does a dude need to be doing this before his pursuit of riches is deemed to be foolishness?” Given the disparity in stature between artists on the compilation and the Drakes and Kanyes of the world, it’s hard to blame them.
• David MacIntyre