Arts & Entertainment, Music

Factor: Lawson Graham

Lawson Graham is a left-of-centre hip-hop release by veteran Canadian beat-maker Factor. A group of label mates, both singers and rappers, provide some vocals for his instrumentals, but this album begs the question of whether it’s hip-hop or indie rock. It’s tough to say—the tracks that give off the best hip-hop vibes are generally the ones that feature indie rock vocalists, and those that sound quintessentially indie rock are the ones featuring the rappers. It’s an interesting concept, but long-winded songs like “Missed The Train” and “Every Morning” show why the success rate for this type of genre mash-up isn’t particularly high.

The album almost feels like an experiment, and it has its successes here and there. “Mental Illness,” a confident rap by 2Mex over a chipmunked vocal sample is the album’s catchiest song. There’s no mainstream, synthesized, 808-drum influence here, either. Instead, the album is much more organic, with artists who appear to be more levelheaded than those in the mainstream.

Factor makes a noble, albeit meandering, attempt to expose listeners to two completely different musical styles. A hip-hop fan wouldn’t jump into indie rock by listening to Arcade Fire. An indie rock fan wouldn’t jump into hip-hop by listening to Young Jeezy. A compromise has to be made and you have to ease into it slowly. If you’re open-minded to both, Lawson Graham might be a good place to start.

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