Artist-producer Slakah the Beatchild can be described in one word: underrated.
Long an underground Toronto music scene favourite, Toronto-by-way-of-Sarnia wunderkind Slakah the Beatchild is well connected, having previously worked with artists Justin Nozuka, Melanie Durrant, and a pre-world-famous Drake.
Slakah, real name Byram Joseph, terms himself a “performing producer”—some might recall his “psychedelic” pop turn on the critically well-received The Other Side of Tomorrow album under his alter ego The Slakadeliqs in 2012. This time out, Slakah returns to his more hip-hop/R&B-oriented sound with The Soul Movement Vol. 2. If you missed it when it first dropped last February, stop sleeping and get tweaked to cool loungin’-type vibes heavily influenced by ’90s-era hip-hop and soul. That doesn’t mean it sounds dated—it manages to recontextualize the classic sound for post-millennial audiences.
The followup to 2008’s Soul Movement Vol. 1, Vol. 2 is a Toronto love-in, with folks like Tanika Charles (“Love Fool”), Ayah (“Keep Up”) and Glenn Lewis (“Number One”) all making welcome appearances. Tracks like “Byram’s Groove (Cut A Rug),” “Stompthatflo” (featuring fellow Toronto artist Spek Won), and the radio-friendly “Us Theory” set the groove.
Slakah’s production is proficient—he crafts a signature sound designed to get heads nodding. While being a vocalist isn’t his core competency, he’s up to the task, content to ride the vibe for all it’s worth. It’s a sound that could get played out after a while—but at the moment, it’s unlike anything his contemporaries are doing.
R&B/soul tends to be underrepresented as a genre across the Canadian music landscape, but Slakah the Beatchild’s latest project reps hard, reps loud, and offers up a chill musical experience overall.