Factor done cut himself a damn classic, and his whole Fake Four clan hitched along for the ride. With this deep and infinitely consuming ode to his grandfather, Lawson Graham, the indie-cult-favored Canadian beat wiz twists past conventions into complicated futuristic easy listening like no other producer on the outer throes of hip-hop.
Few in the genre’s history (short of maybe Dan the Automator) have so seamlessly segued back and forth between such balladry as “Every Morning” and drum-cranked crack like “Living in a Vacuum” with Sole and Radical Face. Almost always relying on steady cross-rhythms and irrefutable melodies — elements that separate him from the larger fringe-rap community — he’s every bit as likable as RJD2 in his early prime.
Like Nightmares on Wax and ye olde Deadringer, Factor is a multi-faceted conductor in his own right, and he’s capable of harnessing the strengths of harder acts like 2Mex (on the cherubic “Mental Illness”), as well as of such rap-singer types as Josh Martinez (on the bubble-gum-and-hayseed-filled “Popstravaganza”). Throw in some delightful candy-coated Monkees business like “Oh Oh Andy” and what you have is tomorrow’s ideal boom-bap crossover project.