reviewed by Michael Thomas
It’s rhyming, it’s understanding beats, it’s rhythm, it’s timing, it’s being able to just rap in different environments, gigging, staying at it. Developing tenacity…
His previous album showcased all of these skills and more. Rapplicable Skills showed off skilled wordsmith-ery, all while paying tribute to old-school hip-hop. It was, as always, a community effort. Rhyme Your Business is a nice continuation of what makes Wordburglar so insanely fun to listen to (true story: a friend of mine, an inspiring rapper, told me Wordburglar is so good that it almost made him quit rapping altogether).
If Rapplicable Skills was about learning, Rhyme Your Business is about Wordburglar in his element. He invents several words in song titles: “Versonality” and “Verbserker.” He devotes an entire song to explaining the process of and looking nostalgically at renting videos. He and Esoteric have an entire rap about Damage Control, the Marvel Comics group that cleans up after superheroics; he and Mega Ran rap about modifying video games. If you’ve ever been a fan of Wordburglar, these topics won’t come as a surprise to you, but what will is how many eye-opening lines he can fit in one song.
Perhaps no song is a better indicator of this talent than “Mic Heckla,” a hilarious three-and-a-half-minute track that manages to use almost every single rapper (and others) as put-downs, from “Ice Cuba Gooding Jr,., a bad actor” to “Hamburger Bun B.” In the introductory track “Versonality,” he puts forth the most brilliant punchline: “Like Michelle Wolf, I got mad correspondence.” Think about that one for a second.
If you’re generally obsessed with retro stuff (Wordburglar uses the term “retronaut”), you’ll really enjoy the aforementioned “Rental Patient,” which shouts out a number of mostly defunct video stores across Canada; or the fun you can have playing video games the way you want on “Input Blitz.”
When he’s not rapping about something nerdy, his more general songs are a good indication of his ethos. On “Make Fun Not Bore,” he makes fun of his own style and youthful look while also saying that being angry on rap songs is not his style. The self-conscious posse cut “The 2nd Last Song” (with verses from Chokeules, Jesse Dangerously, More Or Les, Savilion, Timbuktu and Touch) muses on putting the best song second-last on an album. Naturally, it is the second-last song on the album.
I don’t want to give away too many of the great lines on this album, so just go check it out already!
Top Tracks: “Mic Heckla”; “Verbserker”; “Input Blitz”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*