(Dead Beats Entertainment)
First Words is an east coast hip-hop revelation featuring Fredericton MCs Sean One, Above, DJ STV and Halifax producer JoRun Bombay. The output--as is usually the case when JoRun is producing--is clever and creative, always showcasing the strengths of the individual MCs. Seemingly functioning like a modern-day Atlantic Canadian Native Tongues, their second album, Cheaters, is a group effort punctuated with appearances by Buck 65, Ghettosocks, Mick D, Monark and DJ Cosmo. Above shines on the track "Bobbi With An I," which avoids falling into derivative and misogynistic cliches. The song, about an, uh, brush with a femme-fatale type named Bobbie, captures a uniquely maritime experience without seeming like a cheap novelty. There's a great blend of self-consciousness and cockiness on this album. Lyrically that line is expertly skirted on "Find Fool and Forget'em," and musically on "Crazy Boys".You'd be hard pressed to find a weakness on Cheaters. The best moments are when Above, Sean One and JoRun each trade verses. This is the party album that other collaborations aspire to be: There's little to skip here. Deeming it a party album runs the risk of diminishing the lyrical content of the album, but the jokes are neither underwhelming nor lame. First Words are serious about having fun.