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Natural Progression
Natural Progression
Sweatshop Union
Battleaxe / EMI
Ranking 3.5/5

In 2002 the Vancouver collective known as Sweatshop Union came together to release their debut album, Local 604, which went on to spawn 3 music videos and a stream of loyal fans. Consisting of Metty, Mos Eisley, DJ Itchy Ron, Dusty, Mr. Marmalade, Conscious and Kyprios, the group is seeking to build upon their growing fan base with the release of their sophomore album Natural Progression.

Despite the departure of Kyprios, who signed with Sony Music, Sweatshop Union are able to maintain their stature with the release of a solid album. The beats provide a fresh underground feel, while the emcees demonstrate that they have come into their own by showing more charisma on the microphone.

Sweatshop Union waste no time providing a punch on the Rob The Viking (Swollen Members) produced 'Radio Edit,' which deals with the Union's distaste for emcees willing to sell out to try to sales around. The Bookworm produced 'Better Days' is one of my favorites as Moka Only cements the chorus. 'The Way' features some impressive production from Rob The Viking and a catchy chorus. The Mos Eisley produced 'Don't Be Afraid' is an upbeat banger. The piano laden 'I Got News' features a nice 60s sounding vocal sample.

Already nominated for a Juno, Natural Progression is an impressive sophomore release from this established underground Canadian rap crew. With so many emcees in the group, their main downfall is their inability to unite to provide themes throughout several songs. They don't resort to mindless catcalls, instead opting for conscious and political messages, but unfortunately, most songs have little new to say. Nonetheless, they are backed by solid beats and good messages thus making it quite difficult to go wrong.

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This review was written March 17, 2004
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