Sound Advice: Run with the Creeps by D-Sisive
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Sound Advice: Run with the Creeps by D-Sisive

Prolific Toronto rapper D-Sisive sounds angrier and sharper than ever before on his latest album.

If there’s one word that describes Torontonian rapper D-Sisive, it’s prolific.

Since returning to rap in 2008 after a seven-year hiatus, the man occasionally known as Derek Christoff has averaged roughly two albums annually. His latest effort, Run with the Creeps, is his sixth release in three years. Like pretty much every D-Sisive album, Creeps mines some pretty dark territory. He talks about his frustration with the Canadian music industry (on “GG Allin,” streaming at right, and “The Invisible Man”), falling victim to his own hubris (“Orin’s Basement”), and references his parents’ deaths (“Jolly Good Fellow”). But unlike the Jonestown albums or 2010’s Vaudeville, Creeps is unrelenting in its darkness. Previously, D would at least throw in some lighter fare–something like Jonestown 2‘s “Derek from Northcliffe” or Vaudeville‘s “Just an Ostrich”–to give the audience a rest. There are very few moments of levity on Creeps. D-Sisive isn’t just sad anymore, he’s increasingly pissed off at an industry that values image over talent and catchiness over content.

Creeps isn’t party music, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great rap album. When it comes to using hip-hop to tell a story or create a mood, D-Sisive is second to none. With so much rage and sadness lacing the album, it could be easy to forget that D-Sisive started life as a battle rapper back in the late ’90s, but that heritage shines through here. Songs like “To the Moon” and “GG Allin” are filled with multi-layered punchlines and dozens of smart, quick pop-culture references. “The Invisible Man” is very close to being a rap masterpiece, with every bar filled to capacity with sharp metaphors and complex rhyme schemes. Very few MCs can compete with D-Sisive when it comes to rap-as-poetry. His ability to tell stories and evoke moods while still delivering deadly lyrical blows is a unique skill, one that he uses to maximum effect on Creeps.

In terms of production, Creeps is a solid mix of dark, subtle moody beats (“The Unknown,” “Jolly Good Fellow”) and straight-up boom-bap hip-hop (“The Invisible Man,” “To the Moon”). There’s nothing overwhelming on this album, beat-wise. Instead, the tracks are a canvas for D-Sisive’s verbal paintings.