After 11 years releasing underground hip hop, Toronto-based label Hand'Solo Records has finally created a career retrospective with their first mixtape. Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons (are no match for a good blaster) compiles some of the greatest hits from their back catalogue of classic music from Canadian heroes like Buck 65, Sixtoo, Moka Only, Tachichi, Epic and Wordburglar, and combines them with unreleased gems from the vault, songs from upcoming projects, and a whole slew of dubs over instrumentals from the label's previously released 12-inches. Many of these dubs are posse cuts comprised of regular Hand'Solo Records contributors alongside new blood, creating a mix of artists from across Canada, the U.S. And Japan.
Especially exciting is the appearance of two long absent Halifax emcees on Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons. Having taken a break to raise a child, Mackenzie (of Hip Club Groove and hip-pop one hit wonders Len) returns with a fun rap on “The Ripped Thong Song” while conspiracy rapper Knowself returns with a heavy verse for “Just Let It Happen,” proving he didn't lose his edge during his time in jail for bank robbery.
And like any good mixtape, Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons is mixed by Backburner DJ Uncle Fester, who contributes his own brand of cuts and turntable tricks, adding another layer of excitement to this fresh collection of music.
Hokey Religions And Ancient Weapons (Are No Match For A Good Blaster)
This isn’t just a mixtape of underground MCs, this is a full-fledged, grab-a-pencil, take-a-seat crash course in independent Canadian rap. While the masses buy tickets to ultra-club spectacles, the small circles of raw, wordy, nerdy hip-hop heads are drinking out of recycled beer pitchers and listening to the artists on this mixtape. Artists like Touch, representative of Edmonton’s go-with-the-flow style, Moka Only and Jesse Dangerously, saluting the nation’s indie rap scene from opposite coasts, or Eternia, whose delivery on a hype Beatsmason beat reminds people why she is one of Toronto’s best (period). Presented by Hand Solo Records, label rapper Wordburgler, who contributes three songs, proves with witty wordplay that it’s more than just a name. Meanwhile, label mate Epic inspires at least two noggin-scratchers. Hokey Religions is unlikely to convert the masses to grimy, floor-is-the-stage rap shows but it will be exalted within its scene.