Choclair – Ice Cold

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Toronto-born rapper Kareem Blake named himself Choclair on account of his ladies’ man reputation – he also calls himself the “Sexual Chiznocker”. His records have earned him recognition throughout North America, winning a number of industry awards, scoring countless number ones in the hip hop charts and praise from the likes of Gang Starr producer DJ Premier.

The album features a number of Canada’s hip hop stars (Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall, Solitaire, Jully Black and the Rascalz), along with a few American rap heavyweights: on BARE WTINESS he trades verses with veteran MC Guru (of Gang Starr), and with Memphis Bleek on YOUNG GUNZ.

After the bitchin’ and hoin’ of the self-referential, funked-up ICE COLD comes new single LET’S RIDE, with a free-wheeling rap and piano-led melody. Once again, the subject matter is what interests Choclair most: himself. The testosterone count keeps rising with RUBBIN’ (“I got a rocket in my pocket / two tickets to your ecstasy / and one for this chick standing next to me”) and the macho posturing of TAKIN’ IT IN and FRESH.

And so it goes on. Choclair explores such original rap themes as his sexual prowess (JAMBONE), the superiority of his crew (RUNNIN’ WID US), and being baddass in general (BARE WITNESS, YOUNG GUNZ). Last year’s well-received single FLAGRANT has the requisite slow beats, scratches and swear-count, while DIE HARD and S.O.T. at least sound different, with some entertaining messing around from Rascalz, and Solitaire and Kardinal Offishall respectively.

The album finishes, appropriately, with DA CHIZNOCK, a song about…you guessed it, Mr Choclair himself, and the closing gangsta epic SITAUTION 9. Unfortunately, by this point I was beyond caring.

I’ll probably make areas of Toronto a no-go area for myself by saying this, but this album ain’t much cop. Choclair can rap and rhyme to his heart’s content, and the production isn’t bad – there are some interesting sounds in places – but there is nothing here of any originality. Choclair is right: he is dangerous. I almost fell into a coma listening to this.

2 stars