Kardinal Offishall

Kardinal Offishall

Quest For Fire

MCA

When Kardinal Offishal says, “My style is off the thermostat, plus I’m coming from the cold,” it’s not just an idle boast• he’s from Canada! While the majority of Canadian hip-hop has made little to no impact in the States (Remember Snow? Heh heh. I think Anne Murray did a rap album once•), Kardinal has been widely regarded as the best-kept secret from our neighbors to the north, and Quest For Fire clearly shows why.

Kardinal Offishall comes off like a klever Kanuck lexicologist, toying with words with effortless fluidity. In “BaKardi Slang,” Kardinal plays rappin’ Roget, proving a virtual thesaurus of Canadian terms in regards to their American counterparts – all over a blippy downbeat-oriented Neptunes-esque production job complete with disorienting space breaks. In “MIC T.H.U.G.S.,” he finds roughly 20 words that begin with the letters “dis,” and works them into a puzzling, um, discombobulating discussion. In addition, his lyrical territories vary like Canadian provinces: flirting with dancehall, consciousness rap, braggadocio, and even sex rhymes on the Kraftwerk-via-Timbaland “On Wid Da Show.”

The production is a bit bloated and lacks the diversity that the lyrics clearly show, but a mind towards stuffy hip-hop production is probably a better passport to the states than sparse underground beat construction anyway.

MCA Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica CA 90404

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