The City of Philadelphia has long been a town bursting at the seams with hip-hop tradition. The most notable hip-hop artists that come to mind when Philly is mentioned are probably The Roots and Beanie Sigel. However it stretches far beyond that, there’s Freeway, Eve, Cassidy, Bahamadia, DJ Jazzy Jeff and many others still making noise today. Awhile back, you had acts like Three Times Dope, Schoolly D, Fresh Prince, Da Youngstas and the infamous Steady B on the scene. Nowadays, you have underground acts like Journalist, Random (Mega Ran), OuterSpace, Tone Trump and Cyssero, among many others. With so many advances in technology, it’s become easier than ever for an up and coming artist to record and distribute their work to the masses. While this can be seen as a positive thing by those who have access to resources they need, many times vast amounts of talent can go untapped because of the lack of said resources. It’s a real double-edged sword.
Meet The Canon. He’s another Philadelphia-based emcee that has been at it for years, simply wanting to be heard (and maybe make a little money) by anyone willing enough to listen to what he has to say. From a quick glance at his Twitter page (@TheeCanon), and we’re presented with an artist that is aware of his ability, but also has moments of self-doubt. He likes to smoke, he loves to love and be loved and he longs to be appreciated. He presents this collection of songs that have been “compiled over time.” The music that Canon describes as “powerful,” is spread out over eleven tracks and slightly more than thirty minutes of real estate. It’s an ideal length for an artist to introduce themselves, say their piece and be out, hopefully leaving a lasting impression in the process.
If you will just give him a moment of your time.
“Waiting For Your Attention” opens with “Feather,” an echoed and spaced out track that familiarizes the listener with Canon’s brand of witty lyricism complimented with an effortless flow. From the opening bars, the wordplay is already in order. Playing on the names of Magic Johnson, James Worthy and A.C. Green, Canon compares himself to the Los Angeles Lakers championship teams of the 80’s and also makes reference to the 1992 Dream Team. At times, the lines may take a moment to register, but that’s what rewind is for. Vinyl record needle pops accentuate the soulful-but-brief “Sunrise on the Southside” which seems to seamlessly transition into “She Said” which finds Canon paying tribute to the woman he loves, “Aphrodite in the flesh/ From the junk in her trunk, to the treasure in her chest.” While it’s nice to have romance and idealistic lovemaking, sometimes a girl just needs to be…fucked, as I once heard a poet put it. In any case, “Do It Right” is that track here. Carnal pleasures are the theme of the day (or perhaps night) here. The moaning that plays throughout the track shows that The Canon means business. No pun intended. On “Audio Dope,” Canon cuts right to the chase, and lets you know what he wants and needs, as he raps:
“Currently… I need currency
And some Barney in a bag, I mean purple green
Preferably the Urkel tree
And a pretty young lady slurpin’ me
And for y’all to learn from me
The flow’s heavy as mercury
It’s cliche, but I’m out of this world, on Mercury
It’s unthinkable, one of these rappers murkin’ me?
I hit ’em like a missile, yo
Now they ass kissin, like they sittin’ under mistletoe
Shake ’em fast, like Mystikal
I got a mystic flow
Magic like Dwight and dem
Bout to start my reign, where’s the thunder? Where’s the light-en-ing?
Bring the enlightenment, all in your environment
Niggas cardiac arrest in the game, I’m reviving it”
“How We Do It” is another mellow track that features Canon enjoying the finer things in life: chillin’ and smokin’ with friends. The content of the track fits well with the production as Canon makes “a million out of three nickels.” Fellow Philadelphia emcee Vladimir Jones makes an appearance on “Light Up” as things start to head towards the end. “Letter To My Stress” finds Canon bidding a fond farewell to all things that are a source of stress and strife in his day to day life. It sounds like a hearty and daunting task, but Canon seems to be up for it. “Waiting For Your Attention” closes out with a quick verse and some adlibbing over Kanye West’s beat for “Jesus Walks.” I listened to “WFYA” several times, but with thirty minutes of my attention, The Canon proves that he’s a capable artist with a good ear for beats that he’s comfortable rapping over. There’s no specific time frame given for when the songs were recorded and some of them seem to have a slightly better production quality than others, but the lo-fi sound of some of the tracks give the project a bit of personality. So, up until this point, The Canon was patiently waiting for us to pay attention to him. We’re watching. What he does from here on out is up to him, but I’d say “WFYA” is certainly worth a download. It’ll cost you nothing but time.