SWEATSHOP UNION Natural Progression (Battleaxe) Rating: NNNN
I remember seeing a cheese-ass Sweatshop Union video last year that made me think, "Oh my god, another rap group that shouldn't exist getting pity hype just because they're Canadian." So when their second album, Natural Progression, came across my stereo, I nearly came across my bedroom wall with surprise. Never judge a group by its video, people. This album is, start to finish, substance and style working in perfect equilibrium. Philosophizing, politicking, partying and bullshit over varying degrees of funk heat (including production by Rob the Viking, back at the top of his game after disappointing work on Swollen's latest) prove that like GE, Battleaxe brings good things to life.