Smooth on the Mic

Album Review - Homebased - Get Busy (March 5, 2013 on Vinyl Tap Records).

Finding a unique way to mix hip hop lyricism and crisp R&B vocals with Motown-inspired rhythms, Homebased stands above the crowd with the release of their first full-length release Get Busy.

With tracks full of the heartfelt and personal lyrics, Homebased is a united effort from the talented stylings of Ottawa born-and-bred rappers Textstyle, Betavel and DJ/producer Kane B. For over five years, the boys have written and performed songs that tell stories of strife and the ability to overcome while touching on a broad spectrum of emotions from courage to love to perseverance.

Since they hit the ground running in 2008, the boys garnered a solid fan-base throughout Ottawa and Montreal with their debut EP Worldwide, but have since taken their homegrown talent national with Get Busy. Having shared the stage with game-changers and fellow Canadians like Swollen Members and DL Incognito, and southern neighbours such as rappers Fashawn and Mac Miller, Homebased have gained fans at a steady momentum and were even selected to perform at the 2012 JunoFEST concert series in Ottawa.

Get Busy finds the boys remembering their humble beginnings and taking note of their own growth with tracks like “Basics” [watch the video below] that incite familiarity in the listener as the life stories of the Homebased crew flow through. They talk about how music was a way to be themselves while growing up, even if they couldn’t in other aspects of their lives – “Smooth on the mic, yeah I stumbled in real life / A math connoisseur, half-critic with a fine taste / These days chillin’ as we gear up for the next challenge.”

“Basics” is the kind of song that brings back memories of youth tribulations and finding your way in the world, something that everyone can relate to. As the song goes on, the boys talk about their misadventures of youth and how they had to do things their own way while learning from their mistakes, but all the immaturity of their youth ends up being a part of their past and a stepping stone toward the future.

The rest of the album follows suit with songs like “Everyday” and “Go On” that talk about overcoming challenges and facing adversity everyday yet always being able to move forward – “I wouldn’t worry about impressions if you never hurt / Put in perspective it’s a lesson you will never learn / I face my biggest challenge everyday and the challenge help me balance what I’ve mastered on the stage / So in a way I guess I’m man enough to say that I wouldn’t be the guy you see without the malice that I’ve faced.”

There’s no denying these guys wear their hearts on their sleeves and are strong enough to admit past mistakes, knowing they are just notches on the tree of life as it grows and flourishes. One of the most evident examples of this candid strength steeped in proud yet tempered bravado is the last track “Shut Em Down” where listeners can hear loud and clear – “I write from the heart part, right from the start / My freedom and my medium’s my life and my art [...] They got you thinking it’s safe to come around / We came back with a song to shut em down.”

Homebased have hit a homerun with Get Busy. This is an album filled with powerful and profound, emotionally driven lyrics stemming from lives lived and lessons learned, and a burning passion for life and music that can’t and won’t be extinguished. So what are you waiting for? Get Busy.

 

Check out “Basics”:

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