Hip-hop in Ottawa keeps on getting stronger by the day it seems, with all sorts artists popping up on the internet or in the city’s small nightclubs. Whether they’re new or veterans of the scene, lots of people are finally putting their ear to the streets to hear what this city has to offer. Timing could not be better for a certain three-man crew who have been playing live in Ottawa for around six years now. Homebased, a collective of rappers Textstyle, Betavel, and producer Kane B, are set to release their debut full-length album, Get Busy, within Ottawa’s scene and the world of Canadian hip-hop. Having released an EP in 2009, they have gone on to share the stage with names such as Swollen Members, Mac Miller, Masta Ace, and many more. Rightfully so, as Get Busy is a monster of a debut album full of expert rap skill and incredible production.
Immediately, the group’s two emcees did a fantastic job of catching my ear with their rapping ability. Sheer skill is put on display by both Textstyle and Betavel throughout the album’s duration, with the two arguably making each other better through incredible musical chemistry. The two trade off verses and hooks in an effortless fashion no matter how fast the tempo. With regards to lyrical content, most of what you’re hearing requires a few listens to think about and understand. A record that requires a certain degree intellectual engagement is something I feel that is far too uncommon these days within the genre. I can’t commend the trio enough for making it so.
On the production end of things, Kane B has the entire album on lockdown with many examples of expert sampling. The man seemingly has an affinity for older R&B/Soul numbers, as many of the records tracks are based around wonderfully cut and altered samples from within that genre. On Get Busy, you can find both laid-back, self-reflective jams such as “Go On” and “Take Money”, or trunk-thumping bangers such as “Weekend” and the powerful “James Dean”. The vibe is very good, and the production is definitely one of my favourite things about this disc. The fact that Kane B does this in a live setting with physical vinyl records? Even cooler.
Already a very accomplished group, Get Busy will effectively put another feather in Homebased’s cap as a dominant crew within Ottawa. There has never been a better time for hip-hop in this city, and a very good ear for the music and a willingness to work hard will take this trio far. What are you waiting for? Get busy and listen.
ALBUM RELEASING MARCH 5TH, 2013