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culture

Sound Advice: Think It’s a Game? by Smash Brovaz

On a new mixtape, the Mississauga duo proves it's not playing around.

“Real hip-hop” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the hip-hop community, to the point where it’s almost meaningless. But it’s the most accurate way to describe Think It’s a Game?, the new mixtape from Mississauga-based rappers/video-game enthusiasts Smash Brovaz. Save for the odd R&B hook, there’s no genre-bending here, no ill-advised attempts at singing or EDM flourishes—just strong, technical MCing, and smooth, soulful beats.

As MCs, the Smash Brovaz (Junia-T and Crooklin) are as talented as anyone in the business. Both of them have dense, polysyllabic flows, and they share a knack for creating smart metaphors and vivid imagery. They’re able to use these skills in a variety of different ways, ranging from a love song, like “You & I,” to a hard-hitting number about trying to make it as an independent rapper (“Chinese Swag”).

The production on Think It’s a Game? is equally impressive. More than half the tracks were produced by Junia-T, who’s as skilled in the studio as he is in the booth. He put together both the lush, ‘70s soul-inspired “Soul for Tomorrow” and the hard-driving “Chinese Swag.”

The highlight of the record is “Casserine,” a cheery, mid-tempo number based on a simple hi-hat and snare beat and a catchy flute loop. T and Crooklin trade dexterous, complex bars, and the female R&B vocals on the chorus hold the whole thing together. (You can listen to “Casserine” by clicking on the sample above.)

With wordplay so sharp you could cut yourself on it and infectious, catchy beats, Think It’s a Game? solidifies the Brovaz rep as one of the local scene’s strongest acts.

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