Disclaimer: All views presented in this Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
In the entertainment world today there has been a huge premium on individually. Fans want artists who are different. Seeing or hearing the same things constantly gets tiring and people want someone who is versatile. This is where a lot of popular trends and genre changing artists have come from. Fans have latched on to gimmicks or individual rare talents because they’re different from the norm.
In hip-hop this has become commonplace. There is a new artist birthed from a gimmick almost yearly. Some of these artists stick around and their overall talent shines through, but most of these artists don’t. Once an artist is pegged with a gimmick or boxed in with a specific skill, it is almost impossible to get away from it. Many artists have been type casted or just simply couldn’t get away from the gimmick that helped them gain success. This really is a double-edged sword.
Canon has been around Christian hip-hop for years but is still a pretty young artist. He’s been on the scene since about 2009, when he dropped his first mixtape entitled The Great Investment. After that, he started to make a little noise with some features with Lecrae and Derek Minor. He really began to make a name for himself when his “twisting” ability came to the forefront. “Twisting” is a style of rapping in which the artist is rapping incredibly fast. Most hip-hop fans connect this style with a select few artists like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony or Twista. This style has kind of come back to the forefront in CHH recently. Canon is a big part of this style’s resurgence. He “twists” at a pace unlike almost anyone else ever has. Since he is so good at it and it’s a unique skill set, it really stands out when he does it. It pretty much became what he has been known for.
This ability can been seen on his 2011 project Blind World, in which one track in particular seemed to catch a lot of fans attention and further create the legend that is Canon “twisting.” “Good to Go” seemed to take “twisting” to a whole new level and shined a bright spotlight on this skill set. So by the time Loose Canon Vol. 1 dropped in 2012, Canon had fans on edge waiting for what he was going to do.
“Twisting” wasn’t the only thing to get some spotlight; Canon found himself getting a good portion of spotlight. He has become a mainstay feature and is a huge part of Reflection Music Group getting off the ground. He continued to turn heads with his contribution on the labels first release Welcome To the Family. Canon followed this up with his debut record Mad Haven. That album didn’t feature his “twisting” ability as much, but instead he tried to step outside of that. It was different from what a lot of fans expected and had some high points, but overall he didn’t really deliver when he stepped outside of his specialty. Even still, he continued to rise. His “twisting” ability stayed as the major identifying point for him, even though his personality and style began to come out as well. Now Canon is back with the second installment of the Loose Canon series which is due to drop Tuesday, October 7th.
Canon’s career has been pretty steady up to this point. However, he has yet to really find his sound. He is a very creative, eclectic and talented artist. Those are all good traits but if not harnessed correctly, it gives you a wide variety of sound without any real cohesion. This is where Canon has been at so far musically. When it all comes together, he has some very special moments but there have been plenty of times where it didn’t quite come together.
This inconsistency carried itself to and through Loose Canon Vol. 2. There were times on this record where Canon really showed off his talent and created some pretty solid songs. Most of these times came when Canon was “twisting” like on the track “Go Off” feat. Lucius. There were a couple of other times where Canon stepped outside of what he has become known for and showed a little depth as an artist. Most notably, this happened on the Tragic Hero assisted “Point of View”. This track had Canon keeping up lyrically with one of the better lyricists in the genre. Loose Canon Vol. 2 showed that Canon has the ability to step outside of “twisting” and put together some good records.
Another good aspect of Loose Canon Vol. 2 was the production. This record is filled with outstanding production. Every track on this record provides beautiful sound for the listener. Whether it is the hard banging hype tracks that Canon rides very well like “Put Me On” feat. Reconcile and Derek Minor, or the much smoother “Common Sense” feat. Mau Nu’u, the music is tremendous. The production alone is enough for any hip-hop fan to listen and find value in Loose Canon Vol. 2.
As great as the production was, everything about this record wasn’t good. This record was very feature heavy and had some dope collaborations on paper. However, some of these collabs felt forced and didn’t come together as one would have hoped. This was most notably the case on the Social Club assisted “Motivation”. The individual elements of the track were solid but as a whole, the tracked felt forced and left a lot to be desired. This wasn’t the only time a track didn’t quite come together. “Trippen” was different from the norm, didn’t have much direction (or purpose), and lyrically left a lot to be desired. Apart from the solid beat, this track didn’t provide much playback value.
Apart from a few missteps, Loose Canon Vol. 2 as a whole was a good record. Canon fans will be pleased because this record is more of what they are accustomed too. There is enough here to appease fans and more than enough to show how incredibly talented Canon is as an artist. From this record you can see two blatantly obvious things: The first is that Canon hasn’t found his sound yet. This record didn’t have anything holding it together. It sounded like a collection of things he wanted to do. Some of it was really good and some wasn’t as good, but there was a real lack of cohesion. The second obvious thing is that when Canon finds his sound there will be no stopping him. When he gets in his groove he makes some great music. Overall Loose Canon Vol. 2 is everything you would expect from Canon, and it was a good listen.
Loose Canon Vol. 2 is set to be released Tuesday, October 7th and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.