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HIP CLUB GROOVE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Trailer Park Hip Hop (Can. Murderecords) 1994

Just what the world needs: a teenaged rap trio from the sticks of Nova Scotia. Actually, the blunted lyrical visions of MacKenzie and Cheklove Shakil and the scratch-happy turntable activities of DJ Moves (Brian Higgins) are enjoyably alright for what they are. Hooked on product names, B-boy slang, recent movies and food metaphors, derivative of old Beasties and A Tribe Called Quest (but down with the '90s enough to make an informed lyrical reference to Fu-Schnickens) and charmingly casual ("Shure Shots" collapses in a tongue-tied "blahblahblahsumpinsumpinsumpin" breakdown and no one seems to care), the members of Hip Club Groove don't pretend to be anything they're not, and they have the imagination, personality and skills to bring off a credible variation on the theme. Adjusting the beats from an energetic old-school snap (as in the geographical pun of "Bay Oh Fun-Day") to woozy jazz-soul ("Jizz," which pokes fun at Tom Petty along the sexy way), the trio keeps it real in what is likely a chilly musical environment. Bringing a whimsical indie rock sensibility to mild-mannered hip-hop, the laddies make it sound right at home.

[Ira Robbins]