Sweatshop Union – The Bill Murray EP [2011: Urbnet]
British Columbia’s collective of heavy hitting MCs known as Sweatshop Union are back again with their new EP, Bill Murray. Sweatshop Union are known for their ability to complement each other lyrically, as well as project their own manner of intelligent rap over uptempo beats. Since their first formed in 2000, their fifth release is once jam packed with rhymes that are both conscious and fun.
At a brief but jam packed 23 minutes, Vancouver hip-hop collective Sweatshop Union’s newest release The Bill Murray EP demands your immediate attention. On first listen, I was surprised by the diversity in styles included in such a compact collection of tracks. Ranging from bangers, to slower, darker tracks, and back.
Named after actor Bill Murray, not only did the group coincidentally keep finding themselves in places he had just been, missing running into each other by just a day, but he is also the Patron Saint of the Sweatshop Union, as a man who is in complete control of his career and his image.
The production on this album is ambitious and driving, and each track has power to it. Handling the beats on the Bill Murray EP are Pigeon Hole, Rob The Viking, and Preme Diesel. The MCs, Conscience, Dusty, Marmalade, Metty The Dert Merchant and Mos Eisley work together perfectly, on top of individually being masters of their craft. This is a 23-minute gem that you could easily listen to on repeat.
The first track, “Makeshift Kingdom” is a perfect start to the EP. From the beginning, each MC is directly on point, riding the beat and its’ breaks in a variety of ways and keeping it extremely fresh right until the last note. In a similar fashion, the way “Sunburn” builds from the first word is genuinely uplifting. An ode to ambition and drive, in a cultural climate where people have too much choice and ever shortening attention spans, this track is for anyone who works hard and chases a dream, despite the possibility of going unnoticed. The beat builds for both verses and finally drops into an incredible break anyone would be crazy not to love.
The only guest emcee on the EP is the prolific D-sisive on “Bring Back The Music,” which samples Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” quite nicely. The track is addressed to MTV, and asks what happened to the music. The title track, “Bill Murray,” delivers big time. It’s one of those all-purpose songs that is perfect for any time of day, from early in the morning to late night partying.
In my opinion, the best kind of hip-hop is that which manages to be a blend of smart and fun, and this EP manages this balance well In a similar manner, the following track “John Lennon” is nothing short of great, with a feel good beat, excellent steel drum samples, optimistic and fun lyrics (“Raised by good men and good women, grow up to recognize we’re not so innocent, not so infinite, and limited a little bit, a middle finger to the stresses and the little shit”), and a really dope hook.
Like the moon, the stars and the sun, we all shine on. Do yourself a favour and buy this music.