It could be argued that there are few representative voices in Toronto's current rap scene. On his fourth studio album, however, k-os comes as close to developing a definitive "sound" as this city has heard in years. Comfortably walking the line between backpack and commercial rap, he delivers thought-provoking rhymes that never sound strained or self-conscious.
K-os's trademark slow-and-steady cadence is intact throughout, but the content is much more accessible, particularly on the introspective Mr. Telephone Man. What really sets this album apart from standard hip-hop fare is the interplay between beats and lyrics; the extended intervals between verses accentuate the phenomenal production values. Multiple listens reveal samples from Project Pat, Phantom Planet and even a bass line from the Rapture. A fantastically polished offering, capable of swaying non-believers and keeping current fans interested.
Top track: I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman
Pick up a free copy of the Yes! remix disc when k-os plays Kool Haus May 9.