ALBUM FEATURES: WORDSWORTH, CADENCE WEAPON, MINDBENDER, NOMAD. PRODUCED BY NATO.
It’s not strange to be a hip hop artist from Edmonton anymore, thanks to the incredible buzz surrounding Cadence Weapon, and there is definitely more talent from Alberta’s capital city that deserves your attention. “From the land of the pickup truck and black rubber puck” come two of the country’s brightest undiscovered hip hop talents, Touch (emcee) and Nato (producer/DJ).
Mr. Weapon records the majority of his material at Nato’s “Up in Arms Studio” in north-Edmonton, and Nato is contributing one of his jaw-dropping beats to his next album to be released on Upper Class/Epitaph. Touch is no stranger to Cadence either, with a guest spot on the “Oliver Square Remix” on the Polaris Prize Nominated “Breaking Kayfabe”.
With the seal of approval (and a guest appearance) from Cadence Weapon, Touch and Nato are poised to further prove the City of Champions is a hip hop hotspot. Their debut album “Intelligent Design” is a textbook run-through of how to make a classic album: no filler- just a full course meal of raw and aggressive rhyming, neck-snapping beats and creative concepts. It’s a refreshing reminder of the potential hip hop has to push it’s own limits, rather than caving to the trend of formulaic radio-friendly jingles.
Touch is a pioneer in the Edmonton scene, performing with his crew Dangerous Goods Collective since the early ‘90s. His reputation as an incredibly detailed and intelligent lyricist has spread across the country through multiple tours. With grit comparable to Ras Kass or Saukrates and emotion similar to Ghostface Killah, he successfully pulls off a street-style that radiates heart and struggle. Any Edmonton emcee is bound to mention Touch as an icon in the scene, and his West End roots have been developed for years, even rhyming in a group with E-Dot, now a star rapper in New York City with Uncle Howie Records.
Touch’s rhymes are perfectly matched on “Intelligent Design” with beats and cuts by Nato, who is quickly becoming known as one of the country’s premier producers. His studio has been used by almost everybody in his city’s hip hop scene and beyond, including Wordsworth (Brooklyn, NY) and rising star Cadence Weapon, both of whom make guest appearances on “Intelligent Design”. Nato uses a variety of samplers, keyboards and live players to create his hard-hitting bangers. He has also worked with Epic (college radio cult-favourite) and Dragon Fli Empire (CBC and campus radio favourites, he produced their track “Invasion” featuring Touch, which was featured on the prestigious “Up North Trip” compilation).
“Intelligent Design” is 18 tracks of amazing concepts, from the poignant and reflective “Somethin’ Real” which focuses on the senselessness of murder, to the hilarious remake “Adult’s Story”, picking up where Slick Rick left off with Touch claiming he is “not the father” on a Maury Povich-like talk show. There’s also the catchy “Can’t Hold Me Back”, an anthem to staying determined with Belgian singer Nomad and “What I Really Wanna Say”, a defiant defense of freedom of speech featuring Cadence Weapon. Touch and Nato are ready to unleash their explosive sound, get ready to be blown away by these mad scientists.