Ron Contour & Factor: Saffron
When I think of Canadian rappers, I mostly think of Buck 65. Its not that there aren’t other Canadian rappers. Its mostly the Buck has made his trade in rap while creating his own identity. His flows don’t make him sound forced, or contrived. He is who he is and that works. For Canadian rapper Ron Contour, I can’t say the same thing.
Contour, who is first cousins with fellow-Canadian rapper Moka Only (according to his press release), doesn’t come of sounding as legitimate. Its not that he’s straight out trying to be Jay-Z, or Lil Wayne, or insert your favorite mainstream American rapper here. But he does seem to mix his quirky lyrics that border on the non-sequitur with that element that dominates mainstream rap, bravado. On the hand he can rap “Ron make pancakes/ Ron make fans/ make Ron some damn crepes/ got new black drapes coming” (“Check it Out”). Then he can spit “Now I’m back/ like the oppo-site/ of your chest/ Everything Ron droppa/ better than your shitty rappa” (“Prairie Wind”).
And it doesn’t stop there. Contour can easily throw in some sexual references as well. Take his quick line about “good pussy, eatin’ it up” thrown in the middle of “Diner”. It seems to come from nowhere as though its thrown in at the last second just let us know that Contour is a player. I’m not going to say that he inundates the album with such lines, because he doesn’t. But they seem to take away from his strengths, which are the more quirky ways he puts rhymes together.
As for production, Factor makes some very good beats. “Diner” is a straight hip hop track focusing on good drum beats and bass, with a small sampling of guitar. It leaves the track open to showcasing Ron and his lyrics. But Factor can take things elsewhere. On “Confused Nougat” Factor turns a rock track into a rap beat. Then he turns “Prairie Wind” into something out of a Western flick with horns, and that whistling sound you hear when they show the cowboy out on the plains. Or on “Wondrous” where he samples a woman singing “Wondrous things to be seen and be done. All I could think of was” at which point Ron takes over. The track has a light drums, bass guitar, and light sampled sounds that help to set the mood. Overall, Factor does a great job.
One blip that throws the album off is “Shoe Box”. The track features Def 3, who easily outshines Ron Contour. He sings a bit on the track, but even his flow comes off more powerful than Ron’s. It leaves me wanting to hear more of Def 3. His voice and style are just more polished, for lack of a better term.
Still Saffron isn’t without its worth. Ron has skills even if he appears to be forcing his voice rather than letting it develop on its own. He’ll never be on of those rappers that comes from the inner city streets and can get away without sounding thuggish. I’m not sure that’s what he’s going for, but he sounds like it a lot. Saffron dropped back on April 6th through Fake Four Inc. and Side Road Records.
MP3: Ron Contour & Factor “Diner”
Buy: iTunes, Insound
Ron Contour & Factor: Saffron