Cadence Weapon's sophomore album Afterparty Babies, is the quickest way to refute anyone who dares call our province's capital Deadmonton. Putting aside sports rivalries, the latest LP from Edmonton-born hip hopper Rollie Pemberton is an electronic explosion of unrelenting beats, exciting rhymes and soon-to-be dancehall standards that will make even the most ardent too-cool-for-school dudes groove.
When lead single "After the Youth Crew" dropped on Pitchfork Media, people began to wonder if Cadence Weapon could make an album that was as good as the single. It's done easily, with only a few minor missteps along the way. Clocking in at just under an hour long, Afterparty Babies pounds the listener with song after song. Musically, Weapon samples from numerous different sources to create the kind of beats you'd expect in only the greatest clubs.
This is most exemplified in back-to-back tracks "Getting Dumb" and "House Music." "Getting Dumb" features the kind of stuttering beats and an instrumentation which sounds like what would happen when some kind of horrible cyborg-cavemen hybrid gets behind the dials in the studio. In follow-up track "House Music" Weapon uses a dark, throbbing, merciless UK grime-influenced bass and drum beat that's in stark contrast to the previous track. This musical variation moves the album from good to great, as Weapon isn't afraid to mix the sonic qualities of his genre a bit. It's a welcome reprieve and makes the album stand-out amongst other hip-hop artists out there.
If there's one problem, it's that there are some odd choices to intersect the album with the rare, 30-second spoken-word parts. In "After the Youth Crew" a Jamaican woman (ostensibly Pemberton's mother) reveals a funny anecdote about his youth. These are funny little anecdotes, but multiple plays will eventually cause the listener to start skipping these little niceties in favour of the music. It's a minor quibble and doesn't detract from the album's quality at all, though it's something that should be mentioned as the rest of the album is so damn good.
Obviously this isn't the album for the gang-star set. Don't expect anyone to rap about bitches, hos, area codes or the numerous variations of bling-blangeries. This is the kind of album you give to the young men and women out there who sneer at the very mention of hip hop and rap. Afterparty Babies is the album to destroy those kind of pretensions.