On the track "Ability to Rap," Calgary-based emcee Mantrakid asks an important question: how did he get his unusual talent to rap? If he went the usual route, the best bet is that he got smacked in the face by a radioactive microphone.
Mantrakid's album is on the cutting edge of hip hop. He doesn't hold a PhD in thuganomics, but his production is a self-styled version of the sexy southern blues, evocative of the Kills' latest album. On tracks like "So How I Can Taste It" and "Dissonance of Day," 'Kid whispers over the beat, cranking up the heat in a sultry manner. He also drops some groovy tracks with an electronic orientation, like the electro dewdrop beat on "You'll Never" pounding out the rhythm. On "Sinister States," Mantrakid raps urgently over a dark track right out of a post-apocalyptic war movie.
So where did he get his ability to rap? Probably from the Beastie Boys. Tracks like "Ability to Rap," sound like a B-side from the famed group. If all his tracks sounded like that, it wouldn't be a big deal, but when you've got an album of tunes that don't sound anything like current mainstream hip hop, sometimes a little bit of the retro influence is a bad thing.