By Stephanie Raycroft
This week, we went in a bit of a new direction, giving Relic, a.k.a. Rel McCoy’s, latest offering,Miles to Go, a listen. The Toronto artist has been proclaimed a “hip hop guru,” with such titles as Emcee, DJ, Juno award-winning producer, engineer, and singer. The “total package in Canadian hip hop” has his hands in many pots, having undertaken a huge project:endeavouring to write, record, produce, perform, and mix Miles to Go entirely on his own.
That’s not to say that he can be credited for every track on the album. Relic’s close friends, Shad, Ghettosocks, Brotha Soul, and Mr. J. Medeiros,contributed to the album.Thus, Relic maintained sole creative power over his album, but also continued strong personal relationships with these artists.
Now, you all know me. I am a big fan of the sweet, happy, “sparkles and unicorns” indie music, so a hip-hop album is hardly my style.
That’s not to say that I have no background knowledge of hip-hop. But it’s sparse, at best. So I turned to my 19 year-old rap enthusiast brother for guidance. For the record, he was no help. Although, he did say, “This is so sick.” So, yeah.
Regardless, I plundered on, expanding my hip-hop horizons. Miles to Go is Relic’s way of telling the story of his still on-going rise to the top. At first, I interpreted this theme as a generic rap genesis story that we’ve all heard time and again from rapper after rapper. I soon realised that far from generic, this ishis story, and his journey is something that hip-hop fans and aspiring rappers alike can all relate to. In some way, I also found this relatable. I think everyone has a shiny, fabulous life goal that they’re working to attain.
I found Miles to Go incredibly individual and moving. The individual bit seems obvious, considering he was the major creative influence on the album, and the only hand in its production. Yet, it goes deeper than that. Relic pulls from many old-school influences, for example, he uses soulful blues/jazz interludes. This, combined with incredibly poignant lyrics and impressive delivery, demonstrates his supremacy in the Canadian scene.
Tracks like “Out of the Blue” are incredibly funk-heavy, which is the type of hip-hop I tend to gravitate toward, so he hit a soft spot of mine, and I really enjoyed it. Other tracks, like “Action Figure”, are reliant on strong, inspired lyrics, and leave you feeling like he just gave you the tools to take over the world. I think my favourite part is that he masterminded the whole thing. It just makes this offering so much more inspired.
All in all, I had a lot of fun listening to Miles to Go, and I recommend it to anyone, regardless of musical comfort-zone.Nothing on this album feels synthetic, and Relic’s attention to detail must be appreciated. The melodies feel natural, very unlike the rap that dominates the billboard charts right now. This is just what we need.