Side-FX :: Creative Control ::
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim

Something must be in that Canadian water. In the past few months alone, I have seen an emergence of Canadian artists in the hip hop scene, not only creating impressive music, but succeeding in it as well. With Ottawa's latest artist surfacing, Side-FX emerges with his debut album "Creative Control." With over a year's worth of dedication to the album and featured production from 1Watts, Wyze Intellect, David Hodges and Gamshooter, "Creative Control" represents an immense amount of growth from this prevailing artist.

As the foundation of "Creative Control," Side-FX brings with him the ability to bring to existence something new in an artistic form through his music and album. Featuring a soul infused track with blaring horns, the title track builds on the idea of staying creative and imaginative regardless of what mainstream rap demands. Distinguishing his style from others in the rap game, Side-FX proclaims:

"We need a new line of attack, Creative Control
As a whole, so slow, but we still changing the mold
We need creative control, newest line of Attack
Because the rap is for the people, and I'm giving it back
It's time to take these things back, let's control the vibe
That we release, don't repeat please open your eyes
And realize that the only thing that makes me, me
Is my ability to show my personality
We need a new plan of attack, taking it back
To a time when your mind was what made it a rap
Making them clap, so in fact we will stress the part
That we playing so I'm saying let's control the art
Plan of action is simple, sick of hearing a clone
The only way to control the music, do it alone
So quick in the mind, but the genie is lame
But my meaning is leaning towards a genie of brain
They don't repeat since I came, but they not ready to change
The only overlap in fact, is you repeating the game
Making us fools, they making us choose what they giving me
You choose money, I pick creativity..."

With its calm, slow beat, Side-FX's perspective on music and inventiveness continues in "Just Listen" as he expresses that "a lot can be learned from someone else and their words when everybody has a chance to be heard." The sped up lyricism in "No Chorus" and the accompanying vocals in "It's the Music" presents to the audience the passion and love for music from an artist's perspective, while revealing the truths about mainstream hip hop.

"State of Rap" embodies the fundamental thinking of underground rap artists that struggle to strive for excellence within their artistry and talents. While featuring a simple synthesized beat, the track suggests that the rap movement is on a continuous downward spiral with its lack of lyricism and inventiveness.

Aside from the non-conformist ideals of the rap game that Side-FX addresses throughout "Creative Control," he is able to concentrate on his own self-reflection. In "This Is a Recording," Side-FX examines his own independence and individualism through his music as he views every day as a "recording of his life." Featuring the vocals for the chorus from Side-FX's sister, Erin Williams, the track develops with a production of a resonant, hard hitting bass from beginning to end.

Side-FX expresses his reasons for enduring hardships as an artist in "Existed" as he shows that "my place in life I find through rhymes." With soft sounds of horns in "Contemplation," Side-FX shows how he deals with difficult choices or "forks in the road" and how temptation interferes with such decisions.

Succeeding in his voyage of creativity, Side-FX indulges us with his originality in "May 2008." Caught off guard with Side-FX heavily breathing in the intro, he looks into the past as if it were 2009 and imagines life being on a mainstream label with its accompanying problems. The "past" that he rhymes about shows a deal with a label going sour after a second album release. Slowly developing into a complicated predicament, in the end it is realized that this so called "past" is non-existent and remains a reminder to him to never follow that path.

Although the simplicity in production and likeness in beats from track to track shows little variety, Side-FX hardly ever loses ground or focus with his lyricism. Both concise and clear, his rhymes unleash an unmatched talent to tell a story of his life through facing adversity. As shown in his debut, Side-FX maintains a style that is equally clear-cut and uncomplicated far beyond the talents of any other newfound artist as "Creative Control" is truly exemplary of his "heart and soul."

Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: June 26, 2007