Words By Jesse H. | @JHagen34
Lest we forget that Canada has more to give us than the pop-rap sensibilities of Biebs and Drake (not knocking if you’re into it). Fraction & Fresh Kils, a northern duo comprising a lyricist (Fraction) and producer (FK), submit a retro-tinged quick play with Extra Science.
The opening, titular track flips a crafty vocal sample over a jazzy synth loop in a style reminiscent of Pete Rock’s InI days. It sets the tone for the album’s concise offering of 11 breezy cuts of rap of the more traditional variety.
Fresh Kils’ shrewd production is a particular standout: it’s remarkably crisp (ie: the savage break beat on “That’s A Rap,” which knocks like trick-or-treaters on crank) and endearingly patient, wafting up into the memory banks and setting up shop as if they’ve been there the whole time. “Like This” is notably strong: dramatic orchestral flourishes, a noodling whisper of G-Funk synths and a bass line that pogo sticks along. Elsewhere, “Personal Foul” phases in well-stated licks of hazy electric guitar.
On the vocal side, Frac’s delivery is like an impassioned version of the deceased Guru, and his flows mesh well with the production. He’s most lively when he experiments with a hurried cadence on “That’s A Rap.” His rapping is never called into question, but he does suffer from a bit of Jurassic 5 syndrome: painting the right pictures but not with enough color.
The album’s hooks suffer the same ailment and they could definitely use more variance beyond the standard scratchcollage formula, but hey, it ain’t pop, dummy. Overall, Extra Science has the appropriate chemistry for an album that you’ll enjoy if you’ve ever scowled at someone that called you a “purist,” even if they’re probably right.
Label: Math Music | Producers: Fraction & Fresh Kils