Dirt City is wherever you are when you realize that you’re living in a dirt city. Dirt City sits in the middle of the map of human psyche, connected to Love by a massive six lane highway that is intermittently closed because of massive car crashes and cargo spills. It’s encircled by a subway system of Fear that unexpectedly stops in stations long quiet and abandoned. Dirt City is bound to Hope by a precarious swing bridge that opens and closes in the blink of an eye to let phantom ships cross wide chasms of murky waters. You don’t have to live in Dirt City to know your way around it, but it helps.
You also don’t have to be living in Dirt City to write about it, either, as proven by Cadence Weapon, whose Hope in Dirt City is an ode to his hometown of Edmonton, written and recorded in his new home of Montreal and in Toronto. Where once he’d pepper his rhymes with insider jokes references about Alberta’s capitol, Hope in Dirty City sees the former Poet Laureate of Edmonton broaden his scope, reaching out to his audience through universal themes that aren’t isolated to one geographic area. He’s not only re-purposing personal stories for a wider audience, he’s also rebuilding his beats from a bedrock of samples that were then played by live musicians in the studio before being re-sampled the final production The result is a frenetic collage of musical genres and styles, a veritable guided tour through urban music’s avenues and boulevards, narrated by rap’s most literate tour guides.
Like a florescent lit map on a street corner telling you that YOU ARE HERE, Hope in Dirt City is a public service announcement for all who are struggling to rise above the fray, hoping to get their voice heard above the din of negativity and congestion of conformity. You won’t be able to draw a direct line from HERE to THERE, but that’s life; Try as you might, no preplanned route is ever going to completely avoid dead-ends, broken watermains or cracked sidewalks. Just put one foot in front of the other, start walking, start breathing, and keep hoping. You’ll get THERE in the end.
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