Birthday Songs, Exclaim! (CAN)

In the mood for something fun and uplifting? Stay clear of Birthday Songs; it is an extremely depressing album.

Birthday Songs contains brooding reminisces about soso’s ex-girlfriend, death and pregnancy. The lone vocal track that departs from the depression of the album is a sad but humourous confession entitled “Dyke Look,” and is very different from the thoughts currently running through your head. It’s not just the subject matter that is unorthodox, as soso’s voice and flow are in the same class as other underground Canadian MCs like the Peanuts & Corn roster, the Sebutones and his Clothes Horse Records partner, Epic, while his beats only bear a resemblance to hip-hop through drum loops and other samples. And it’s for these beats that most people will know soso, especially with his production on Epic’s debut. On Birthday Songs, soso includes two fine instrumentals: album opener “Waiting for the Harmonica to Drop” and “Hand to the Plow,” which nearly delves into the space-rock territory of Sianspheric. It may not be as apealing as 8:30 in Newfoundland, but it will find a core crowd, which will likely spread easier outside of the hip-hop market.

Thomas Quinlan, Exclaim! magazine