If you’re up on your rap but aren’t too sure what’s happening in the Vancouver hip hop scene, rest assured that there’s a lot more action in Western Canada than you would think. To start off, we recommend checking out the hardworking guys from Northwest Division and their second album, Rap Better Party Harder (R.B.P.H.).

The young crew has replicated their self-titled debut’s lively spirit and loaded this sophomore release with sharp wits, playful lyricism, clubby-fun party vibes and beats reminiscent of the boom-bap era. The imagery throughout the album is passionately sculpted by emcees Ian “Junk” Tonino and Sean “Hungry” Norgan, with production from GBoXX.

From start to finish this project hums with energy and is held together by the classic element of hip-hop storytelling: vulnerable and personal tales of yearning for loved ones while on tour and suffering through family heartbreaks in “Those Eyes, and a gravelly, almost venomous-style delivery from Hungry and Junk in the catchy “Fresh Blood” — with scratching and a lyrical style similar to that of “Bless and Destroy” off Swollen Members’ Balance, with lines like, “I’m a demon in the flesh/Blood leaking from your ears.”

The album also features Rhymesayers’ Musab in the laid back, horn-filled “Border Patrol” and the boys sample Southern heavyweights UGK’s “One Day” in the song “Up Early,” which features another Vancouver rapper, Terell Safadi, who brings a mellow flow, making it a perfect song to listen to while you take a summer drive.

The album ends with the infectious and bangin’ self-titled track, which is coupled with a gruesome and gothic music video you can catch on their YouTube channel. “R.B.P.H.” shows off the entire album’s worth of skills — quick-spitting, rhythmic wordplay and of course creative beats from the group’s DJ and producer, Gboxx.

Fitting in well with your playlist between Yelawolf and Rittz, if you head out to a rap show in Vancouver, chances are that these dudes will be the openers and you’ll want to know what you’re bobbing your head to.

By Katharine Sawchuk

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