Kardinal Offishall – NOT 4 SALE
[font=Tahoma]Record Label: Kontive/Geffen
Release Date: September 9, 2008
For years and years, there has been a genre looked down upon, and even hated, by the general Absolute Punk community. That genre is hip hop. Sure, there are exceptions (P.O.S.), but overall this genre has suffered from the “sex, drugs, and violence” typically associated with rap and hip hop. Kardinal Offishall manages to serve up some respectable tracks on this disc, including some cuts that manage to break out of hip-hop’s stereotypical confines.
This disc’s strengths lie in the tracks where Kardinal mixes catchiness with pure, unadulterated lasting value. Unfortunately, only three tracks make this mark. The first of these is “Numba 1.” This song features a wonderful croon from Rihanna, and she is the perfect guest. She knows it is the Kardy’s song, and lets him shine, simply adding her verses to produce an outstanding track. Track number two is “Go Home With You.” Even though guest T-Pain often gets a lot of crap for doing too many overpowering guest spots, he knows his place here. All he adds to this is an Auto-Tuned line that fits perfectly, and even sounds haunting at times. The song also features an intro of “la-la-la”s and a twisted melody that faintly reminds me of Tim Burton’s remake of a certain Roald Dahl classic. The final song of the album’s top three is “Due Me A Favour.” This song’s lyrics break almost completely from the gangster archetype. They showcase vulnerability which is only enhanced by Estelle’s soft vocals. The rest of the tracks fail to meet the mark of these three tracks either because the guest vocal is way to overpowering (“Dangerous”), because the song tends to drag (“Burnt”) or just because it’s a bad song (“Bring The Fire Out,” “Going In”).
Overall, I enjoyed this album despite its obvious associations with a genre “the scene” has grown to despise. The album does drag on at times, and some tracks are obviously filler (such as the Kardinal’s solo tracks). The fact that guests like Akon and The Dream completely overpowered Kardinal Offishall was of major detriment to the record. Despite all this, the tracks showcased a great variety. They ranged from pure pop (“Dangerous”) to hardcore rap (“Lighter!”) to something completely different (“Due Me a Favor”). In keeping with this variety, some tracks were completely forgettable, while some could easily grow on you enough to become a guilty pleasure. And yet others made you want to shoot yourself in the face while sitting in a pile of kangaroo crap. I cannot wait until his next effort. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the Kardinal and less of high-profile guest names, and maybe we’ll see him take a step in a different direction than most of the rappers today. After all, its still not too late for him.