Heatwave (Hand’solo) is a collection of various artists rhyming for the common cause of simply rhyming, making music, and entertaining one another. It sounds like the kind of hip-hop that was active and hyperactive before the internet’s first hip-hop community found itself, but as if they all knew there was more to this music than what was discussed in a digital realm. This can be considered the kind of hip-hop that hip-hop itself forgot it used to be.
Backburner represents everyone that is on this album, which includes Jesse Dangerously, Thesis Sahib, More Or Les, Psybo, Ambition, Timbuktu, Wordburglar, and many others, doing the kind of songs that are about taking the music, lyricism, and themselves to a next level, even if that level means simply having a chance to create more music again. If you’re a fan of indie/underground hip-hop, and like the tendencies for the rappers to move towards levels that are sometimes considered unacceptable by the mainstream these days, you will like this, as some of it comes off as unexpected. What I hear are lines, verses, and songs that have the “wow factor” and while that term might sound like something one might hear from judges on a televised talent show, let me put it this way. There was a term in the era of cassettes where you would talk about rewinding the tape over and over so you could hear that line that just made you go “oh shit!” Each of the MC’s here sound different from one another, so while Backburner may be united by name, they’re not playing verbal hopscotch by becoming copy machine-style rappers. That has always irked the shit out of me, to be in a group and sound like four other guys, only so that when the main MC runs out of breath, the three other MC’s can rhyme in place of you for a few seconds. This is not so much a multi-headed, same-sounding beast but a group of rhymers who display their influences with pride and take their love of hip-hop to the future. Not everyone is going to be a fan of each and every person on this, but there are more than enough MC’s on this to become a personal favorite.