SCRAM - Hundreds of One
Hundreds of One, the latest EP from Vancouver rapper SCRAM, is a welcome, soulful little shot of west coast hip-hop. With such slick and shiny production, the EP sounds more intimate and warm that it has any right to. From the opening track and first single “Girl All Alone” with it's lilting, jazzy guitar chords, simple snare beat and pensive storyteller lyrics, Hundreds of One sets a high standard for its music. SCRAM's storytelling ability is on full display here, as he's on top form throughout, keeping pace with the first-rate beat creation. “Orchestrated” is a right proper boast track but with a spiralling sexy beat. “Dead Parade” is a showcase for SCRAM's technical talents as a rapper, rapid-fire and controlled as he goes in hard on, I dunno, society at large. The music is appropriately epic, even if it's a couple string samples away from being too heavy-handed. But, given the size and scope of the target, teetering on the brink of such weight serves the song well. “We raise our fists at politicians and their artifice, good luck, how far is it to Christy Clarke's address?” It's a small snippet on a track with a ton of quotable lines, but name-checking a more local politician on the track, rather than a larger profile/easier target, demonstrates a commitment to staying true to the area that informs his life while keeping an ear turned to the sounds outside to inform the beat side of things.
There's a classic boom-bap base to the beats throughout the record, highlighted by flourishes of live instruments, but the music tiptoes around the edges of electronic influences just enough to inject fresh energy into the sound. This juggling act is on full display in “The Weekend” as trance-like saxophones give way to a wonderful little glitch beat. It's one of the warmest sounding songs on the album,even as SCRAM raps about the all-encompassing feeling of the hopelessness of modern life that drives some people to make questionable decisions in the freedom of the weekend. The album closes with “Photobook,” the song on the EP you're most likely to drop the windows in the car for or walk a little quicker down the street to. It's a smooth driving ode to the power of looking back to where you came from, for inspiration and comfort. It's a welcome blast of sunny energy to help cleanse the palette after the contemplation and soul-searching that came before it. Hundreds of One is a helluva debut EP that'll work on your headphones or in your car. Enjoy it wherever you enjoy quality hip-hop.