Skulastic: Skulastic (2013)

Bio (from skulastic.com):
Canada has an emerging female rapper/producer and her name is Skulastic. Born and raised in Vancouver, Skulastic delivers lyrics that are honest, personal and flow with confidence. Her production style ranges from traditional sample based beats to complete originals. Skulastic’s self produced self-titled debut album is a breath of Fresh Canadian air proving her to be a true stand out talent among today’s underground Hip-Hop artists.

Musicians:
Skulastic (Emcee, Production), featuring DJ All Good, The Mighty Apos, Konfidential, Zoner, L.I.F.E.T.I.M.E.

 

If you read my site, then you know I like it when I get a submission that’s “different.” Skulastic was the first female emcee to submit any music for review, so right away that was different. She’s also Canadian, so this was my first Canadian hip-hop to review. And finally, not only is she an emcee, she also produces her music herself… now THAT’S different. There aren’t a whole lot of people out there that both produce and rap, and I’d be willing to bet that there are very, very few female Canadian emcee/producers! Sometimes when you have this many eccentricities in one artist, they are making their name solely on the fact that they ARE different. I was very happy to discover that Skulastic is not a gimmick; not only is Skulastic a female Canadian emcee/producer, she can flow and makes good beats too! Sure, not every track on SKULASTIC is going to blow up the radio, but there isn’t one bad track on the entire release.

Skulastic, looking blue.
Skulastic, looking blue.

I especially enjoyed “The Bridge,” wherein Skulastic explains where she came from and what she’s all about. “I’m perfecting, mastering my craft / Respecting the future, present, and the past / I’m bumping Kendrick Lamar and KRS-One…” she says, and goes on with “When they say be yourself and you’ll go far / what they really mean is figure out who the fuck you are / which is easier said than done / especially with so many influences to draw from. / Sometimes you’ve got to shut it all out, go for yours / embrace your strengths and your flaws / start off by being sincere, and make the type of music you want to hear.” I love everything about this verse. You do have to figure you what you are good at, and do it the best you can, and you do have to make music that you like. If you don’t want to listen to your music, why would anyone else?

Well, with a name like that...
Well, with a name like that…

Skulastic shines at 90’s style production and smooth flows. I find her a bit more skilled as a producer than an emcee, but don’t read that wrong: she’s a good emcee, and an even better producer. The production on “Skulastic,” “The Bridge,” “Rap Scholar,” “I’m Gone,” and “Money Knowledge” all were especially good, with “Politics” and the very aptly titled “The Head Nod” shone as the standout tracks, production-wise. Skulastic’s vocals resonate more with me for her flow rather than her vocab, though she does drop the occasional gem. In “The Head Nod” she taunts “Constantly paraphrase how dope you are / claim to be killin’ it but can’t leave a scar… Most of all I can’t stand when your flow is off / like for real, I’d rather hear myself cough.” As a whole I enjoy her stories, though I do feel like she falls in the trap of having to prove street cred by talking about selling drugs, smoking blunts, and drinking. This doesn’t bother me too much (though I people didn’t feel they have to prove they are hard to be an emcee), but my biggest issue with her lyrics is a common one: using “homos” as a put down. Hip hop, take note: you have got to stop with the homophobia. There are too many kids looking up to you to continually reinforce that “gay” means stupid. Stop it.

Killing it on stage
Killing it on stage

I was impressed that SKULASTIC also was pretty much a one-woman show, but when there were guests they added to the overall feel of the album without feeling like a crutch. DJ All Good adds some nice cuts and scratches to “Rap Scholar,” which are otherwise pretty much absent from the album. Konfidential adds some sung vocals to the chorus of “Real Game,” which makes it somewhat the opposite of your average guy/girl duo rap track (this time around the guy is singing and the girl is rapping). Zoner has a nice flow and good charisma to his vocals, and I really enjoyed the tone of his voice, and L.I.F.E.T.I.M.E. does the same (though I didn’t quite like his contribution as much) on “Money Knowledge.” My favorite of the guest spots though was The Mighty Apos on “I’m Gone.” I really enjoyed his flow, his tone, and overall I felt he added a lot more to his track than any of the other emcees brought (though no one was bad, he just stood out as the best to me).

Overall, I greatly enjoyed SKULASTIC. Skulastic has good vocab, better flow, and great production. I was especially impressed with the fact that she is both in front of and behind the mic, and does both really well. While she has a gimmick going for her, she’s not gimmicky. She got the talent to back it up.

 

Overall 8 / 10

SKULASTIC for sale: http://skulastic.bandcamp.com/

SKULASTIC site: http://www.skulastic.com

Skulastic: Skulastic (2013)
Skulastic: Skulastic (2013)
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