There are at least half a dozen red flags with They Call Me Shiest even before putting it in the CD player. There is the home-made album cover, with Shiest looking a little too tough for his own good. There are unflattering track titles like "Nuttin New" and "Props Pilin Up." There is the dead link for his website provided on the CD. Yet it is either a pleasant surprise or huge disappointment that Shiest's music itself is pretty good.
Each track features a different producer or DJ, keeping the music fresh and varied. Each song inscribes its own identity, using a good range of beats and samples. "Tax Return" is a smart little piece commenting on monetary concerns, backed by some vintage jazz. "Narcolepsy" is a confident and catchy track, featuring fellow Canadians Quake, Boy ILL and Lee Fitz.
Hailing from St. John's Newfoundland, Shiest's first full-length release exceeds expectations. The production is smart and interesting, but never overbearing or drawing attention to itself. It will be interesting to see where Shiest goes from here, hopefully releasing his next with some better marketing and higher album production values.