Canadian Winter, The Snowball Effect (Urbnet)

With growing influence and an ambiguous membership, I could always obsess over which acts carry the Native Tongues banner. A simple “back in the days when I was a teenager…” expresses a universal appeal and kindred spirit in Kobi of the Winter, spotting subtle Tribe references everywhere on Canadian Winter’s 2013 release, “The Snowball Effect”.

Despite the password to nostalgia, it is not an album that laments the new while cherishing the good old days. Canadian Winter effectively crafts a throwback that remains contemporary – proof of timeliness comes with Basquiat dreams and Adrian Younge samples popular today. Whereas such tributes often end in unintentional parody, that the addition of spoken word can be taken seriously without taking itself too seriously is a victory in itself.

As a sequel to 2011’s “Just Wait Til February”, the new LP continues the narrative without boasting the concept album label. The woman mentioned previously on “Getting It Right” comes along for “Ooh La La, Ah Oui Oui.” Elsewhere a seedy bar and hotel room transforms into a villa. Conversational advice from an uncle in turn ages you (“My First Grey”), and the make it or break it moment transitions to sentiments of “Get The Show On The Road”. With great mirroring effect, the tracklist adds a dimension to Canadian Winter, but instead of bold uncertainties, it is a continuous walk down the street.

Producers Dex, Ka$hkaval, J. Fevrier XIV and SUP∆83 return with their recognizable sound well utilized by the Winter. In the meantime the band’s growth invited Haolin Munk, who got the jazz, pervasive in the Hamilton scene themselves and through collaboration inspired the Snowbeach Players extension. The municipal insularity plays as a strength, which errs to endear rather than alienate.

A closing Patrice O’Neal sample illustrates there can be deeper meaning when inadvertently profound. The everyday, mundane and essence of telling your own story or dream relates rap to comedic humility rather than a DiCaprio character. Whatever the intention, it is a personal record that entails Kobi being himself, continuing his character as a British-Canadian who does not shy away from Afrocentric effects. If Canadian Winter continues their story, I’ll continue to pick at twenty-year-old signifiers, but locally those less invested in the 90’s ideal can now discuss who exactly is a Snowbeach Player, and the region it carves out is better for it.

Canadian Winter’s “The Snowball Effect” is available now at Dr. Disc

Previously on CutFromSteel:
Kobi breaks down the tracklist to The Snowball Effect
An Interview with Kobi from Canadian Winter (February 2013)