If you’ve been keeping tabs on the burgeoning Toronto underground scene, you will have undoubtedly caught wind of this prolific talent and longtime Empire affiliate, a prodigious beatmaker who has helmed bangers from underground stalwarts like The Rhyme Animal and Theology III. This creatively named effort is his debut platter, a tantalising showcase of rising Canadian talent, as well as a platform for his true-school stylings, a sound steeped in the dusty grooves of mid ’90s New York street-hop.

There is nothing pretentious or angular about Aryhthmetic’s approach to beatmaking- the bass is muscular and sinewy, the drums are thunderous, the rhythms never stray from the conventional 4/4 blueprint of vintage East Coast battle rap. Aryhthmetic certainly wears his influences on his sleeve- “Lic A Shot,” featuring the caustic Empire liutenant Tha Rhyme Animal, has a bombastic, explosive edge reminiscent of Insight’s earlier work, “The Dump” with King Syze, Planet Destro and Iron Kong recalls Premo’s work with Screwball and MOP, the Mafioso feel of “Dimebags” with the brilliant Scandalis feels almost Sebb or Alchemist. Arhythmetik’s style is straightforward and heartfelt, albeit a little unoriginal in its fusion of Beatminerz lowend and vintage East Coast strings and horns. Regardless, the bass thumps with considerable menace, the drums are dredged and soaked in the same murk and grime as vintage Wu-Tang records, the basslines are as thick and throbbing as any Black Moon composition.

While Arhythmetic’s own artistic endeavours fail to break any ground, the tracklist alone should warrant your attention. Empire soldiers The Rhyme Animal, Scandalis, J-Staxxx, Tek Man and the always astounding Adam Bomb inject some vitality into punchline rap’s flaccid corpse, while established luminaries like Monolith’s Dan-E-O (with his dancehall-accented “Gwan Tell”), the irrepressible DL Incognito and the rapidly ascending star of Juice AKA Rochester round out a formidable lineup of Ontario’s foremost rap talent. As an entrance point to the blooming Ontario scene, there are few compilations quite as comprehensive as this mixtape, an impassioned reinterpretation of the New York mixtape blueprint.

Arhythmetic :: The Mixtape
7.5Overall Score