The latest release from this Saskatchewan transplant is a rap record for grown-ups.
In many ways, Saskatoon-born, Toronto-based MC and producer Muneshine is the most successful rapper you’ve never heard of. He’s sold tens of thousands of records in Japan; worked with American hip-hop legends like Sean Price, Pete Rock, and Rob Swift; toured Europe; worked on several Juno-nominated records; and been named one of Canada’s top hip-hop producers by Exclaim.
If there’s one thing holding Muneshine back from a domestic breakthrough, it’s that he’s too smart for his own good. His latest album, There is Only Today, could best be described as a rap record for grown-ups. There are no hashtag punchlines, no tear-the-club up rowdy beats and no songs about ass. In short, There is Only Today is the exact opposite of what is considered a commercially viable hip-hop record in 2012. Instead, the album offers a mixture of emotional honesty, clever story-telling, and defiant ambition over layered samples.
On “Cry Baby,” he laughs at haters and calls his crew—which includes Canadian indie-rap stalwarts like D-Sisive and Ghettosocks—“the new Wu-Tang or Boot Camp Clik,” and balances his pissed-off bars with a melodic female vocal sample. “Starter Jacket”—which you can listen to by clicking above—is a hilarious take on the classic back-in-the-day joint, while “Meursalt (The Stranger)” is a template for how to make an emotional, heartfelt hip-hop song without being cheesy or talking about girls. “Lower Level” is the closest thing Today has to a banger, but rather than skittering hi-hats and syths, it’s based on an old-school boom-bap beat, a guitar riff, and a vocal sample from Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
While his dedication to sharp flows, thoughtful lyrics, and soulful beats may not be good for Muneshine’s pockets, it’s a blessing for hip-hop heads who need a break from the world of swag rap, YouTube-famous teenagers and 2 Chainz guest appearances, and we thank him for it.