Sweatshop Union | Water Street

Look (2008)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 6, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars


Sometimes the greatest discs are the ones you least expect. Water Street doesn't even look like a rap album — had I not thought Sweatshop Union a sweet name, I'd have kicked this to my indie-rock pile, where it would have gone unheard. Instead, I popped in this 23-track Vancouver boom-bap masterstroke.

Even with the plummeting economy, few hip-hop acts capture the perpetual struggle just to eat that all, but few of us endure. But on "So Tired" and "Oh My," Sweatshop's seven scribes revive poor man's rap with poignant proletariat laments and giant hooks that should appeal to more than just socio-economic war mongers ("I make money — money don't make me").

I'm not sure where their deliciously sullen strung-out beats come from, but this is the degree of quality that results when large groups get democratic. Complete with equal parts excitement, emotion, and honesty, Sweatshop's "Johnny Cash meets B.B. King" raps should inspire anybody outside the top tax bracket to warm up to the largely slept-on blue-collar strand of contemporary hip-hop. There are times when you just have to take a critic's word for it, and this is one of them.

Related: Bacdafucup, indeed!, Five jewels in the Rubin crown, Backed the f*** up, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Hip-Hop and Rap, Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE TRIALS OF NADIA NAFFE  |  March 04, 2013
    Young, attractive, ambitious, conservative, and black, Nadia Naffe should have been a right-wing operative’s dream.
  •   HIP-HOP TRIVIA GROWS UP  |  February 26, 2013
    In their fourth year of operation, the Hip-Hop Trivia squad is finally taking the night (somewhat) seriously.
  •   OCCUPY DENIED DAY IN COURT  |  February 22, 2013
    It took more than a year for Suffolk County prosecutors to come to their senses.
  •   CZARFACE SOARS ABOVE THE CLOUDS  |  February 11, 2013
    This week 7LES and Inspectah Deck drop Czarface , a full-length work of adventurous genius revolving around a metal-clad protagonist who feeds on destruction.
  •   THE BPD ADDS INSULT TO INJURY  |  February 05, 2013
    At times, this kind of decision makes you wonder whether the BPD is saving its best awards for officers who've been involved in the death of civilians.

 See all articles by: CHRIS FARAONE