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Laika - Pangaean Drift

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By: Brandon Backhaus
Laika, Pangaean Drift, Album Review, Fake Four, Inc.
Album Rating:

Say Pangaea and hip hop and you think of the seminal Visionaries release from 2004. But say Pangaea Drift and from now on you’ll think of Canadian rapper Kay the Aquanaut and producer Factor’s new apocalyptic sideproject, Laika.

Kay has made a name for himself as an independent emcee by tirelessly touring and putting out volumes of music. Take that do-it-yourself ethic and, in a romantic ceremony in front of an audience of moose, marry it to Factor’s precision beats and you get a honeymoon at Niagra Falls. Whether you choose to go over that shit in a barrel is up to you, Gregory Pepper. I’m gonna go ahead and stick around because these dudes, with Laika included, are on a mission and I want to see the how it all ends.

Fake Four, Inc. has cultivated a veritable stable of musicians with a distinctly punk rock ethos. It’s easy to see why Kay the Aquanaut is on the roster. If he can talk Factor into handling production enough to create a whole new group, he must be on to something. After listening hard and nodding my head even harder, what he’s on is some introspective and honesty-drenched flows. You can’t hustle a hustler and this label seems to have a Saben-esque ability to indentify talent. And not talent in the give them a team of producers, writers, promoters, and stylists sense of the term. More like smart draft picks of players who have proven a tireless work ethic and steely gaze to back up the lyrical chops.

Laika, named for the first animal to orbit the earth in the form of a scruffy Russian puppy dog, is a well-constructed effort full of thoughtful hooks, lyrics on par with the better story-tellers in the game, and concise production. While Kay holds his own, the star of the show is again Factor. What I love most about Factor is his ability to match the music to the talent he’s producing a la the Rza. Put Myka9 in front of him and the beat supports a full-on chopped double time blizzard of syllables. Put him in the studio with Kirby Dominant and out comes the bounce supporting the personality that makes Paranoid Castle so great. Gregory Pepper? Have you listened to Common Grackle? No? Zzzzzzz, cuz fool you’re sleeping!

I swear after listening to Pangaea Drift ten times in a row I need to go out and hit up REI for a fucking parka and the lyrics to O, Canada, bro. Laika is ice cold. These Canucks come with some dry, northern winds make me wanna punch Rick Moranis in the apple biters. I’m about to start a land war with the Algonquins and steal me some beaver, homes. DAM!

I’m from sunny southern California. And before that New Orleans, which we all know has weather like wearing a Peter Griffin suit on the daily. I don’t know shit about shit north of the jet stream. But I like it. Maybe someday I’ll pack up my snowshoes, invest in a solid sleigh, and Klondike on up to give these dudes an Eskimo kiss. Until then, I’m satisfied with Laika’s Pangaean Drift. It’ll have to do.

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