Bless entered the game a couple years ago under a joint independent connection between his Platinumberg Entertainment and Guru of Gang Starr's Ill Kid -- a head-turning move for a Montreal rapper. But, as the feisty MC says on his second disc (which Guru isn't affiliated with at all... hmm), he can't understand a mind that's not driven. That explains how he nabbed such solid beats, decent cameos (Cappadonna, Rah Digga and Planet Asia) and the EMI deal. Bless is lyrically adept, full of clever little one-liners and internal rhymes. But he's studied the game so hard that he's absorbed too many hiphopisms: tired songs about how he's tired of rap or about how cool he is; slang you can be sure he learned from CDs, not the Montreal streets; a strong Jay-Z influence; and plenty of clichés -- he's even using a chipmunk-soul sample la Kanye circa 02-03.
Bless blesses System Soundbar tonight (Thursday, November 24).