Review: Cadence Weapon- Parallel World

Hip-hop seems to be having a golden period right now, with consciousness raising beats and rhymes everywhere, from Noname to Kojey Radical bringing out classic records over the last five years.

So it is with Toronto- based artist Rollie Pemberton who records as Cadence Weapon. Over the last decade his fanbase has grown rapidly, and his style too has developed into something rich, complex and multilayered. New album Parallel World is knotty, verbally dextrous and definitely one of the albums of the year. It is a call out from history to the future, taking in civil rights, the rise of capitalism and the fallout from our post-Trump collective trauma. Even the cover is a statement of intent, with Pemberton’s face reduced to a blur, caught up in ambiguous movement.

If ever an album spoke eloquently to our troubled times, it’s this. Sure, there are fun jams like Senna a bouncing tribute to the legendary/notorious racing car legend, but in the main, it bubbles with societal unease.

The woozy psychedelic Eye to Eye addresses black visibility, while On Me has an itchy, hypnotic musicality as Weapon addresses CCTV, algorithms and day-to-day paranoia.

Grit and distortion in the beats perfectly augment Weapon’s impressive flow, finding that sweet spot between experimentation and accessibility.

Choppy percussion on Play No Games underpins the disses to the disposability of pop culture, and it culminates in a furious climax in Connect.

A frenetic, often beautiful album with disparate influences, Weapon will appeal to fans of Aphex Twin and Saul Williams alike. “Idiosyncratic and iconoclastic” indeed.

Released on April 30th via E One Records

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