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Posted by: Dave on September 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm

KardinalOffishallNote: Kardinal Offishall, who was raised in Toronto by Jamaican immigrants, has been a force in the hip hop underground for over a decade and has collaborated with several mainstream artists like Clipse, T-Pain and Method Man. Not 4 Sale is his first release for Akon’s Kon Live label and his first legitimate shot at major solo success in the U.S.
Sound: A hard-to-pigeonhole hybrid of high-energy dancehall, grimy hip hop, electro pop and breezy reggae. Kardinal compliments the musical range by flexing both a patois-heavy Caribbean flow and American-sounding rap rhymes (that occasionally bare a striking resemblance to Jay-Z). He even soulfully sings from time to time.
Look For: Two ’80s hits’ hooks are remade for the choruses on two tracks on here. Parts of Blondie’s “The Tide Is High” (which itself was a remake of a Jamaican jingle) are reimagined by Rihanna and Kardinal reinterprets parts of Sting’s “Englishman In New York.”
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Dangerous” featuring Akon; “Ill Eagle Alien”; “Family Tree (Still Eyerize)” featuring Glenn Lewis; “Bad Like We Bad”; “Going In”
Medium Rotation tracks: The rest, except for the cringe-inducing “Gimme Some” featuring The Dream
Recommended: It’s definitely surprising at first to hear such a respected indie force jump into the mainstream with all guns blazing (the list of featured guests includes Rihanna, Akon, T-Pain, Estelle, The Dream and Clipse and there are a handful of radio-friendly singles). But after you get over the initial shock (or if Kardinal’s new to you, after you decide to dismiss him as disposable pop), you’ll take comfort in finding Not 4 Sale is an excellent showcase for a unique talent. Regardless of the style (and there are many displayed on here), Kardinal is a nimble and skilled lyricist who clearly puts a lot of the thought into his words. And nearly every track is both party-starting and thought-provoking.
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2008 Candidate)

Listen to Tracks/Buy Music:
On iTunes
On amazon.com



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