THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST
The new album from Canada's grand dame of hip hop, Michelle McCullock (a.k.a. Michie Mee), could be a model of her career to date: big bang, slow fizzle.
When the young MC kicked things off with the album Jamaican Funk -- Canadian Style, which she recorded in the late '80s with L.A. Luv, huge things were expected of her.
But like Maestro -- the scene's pa to her ma -- those expectations soon gave way to indifference as the '90s found Mee fronting lame T.O. reggae metal act Raggadeath and putting a great deal of time and energy into her acting career.
Now -- after a decade of "rehearsal," as she says on the track Still Here -- the national hip hop pioneer returns to what she considers her true calling and releases a full-length solo album.
And, damn if it doesn't reignite that same promise as if it was only yesterday -- well, for two or three songs anyway.
True to the album's title, the first cut, Ripped Mee Off, really is the deepest.
Michee comes out of the blocks with an intensity and freshness, railing against the national state of rap and announcing her intentions to move it and herself forward.
The following track, a cover of the Rolling Stones' Slave called Don't Wanna Be Your Slave, keeps the energy flowing free and funky as Canadian trip hop darling Esthero, who also appears on the Black Eyed Peas' latest, joins the fray. It's a superb song that should do amazing as a single.
Unfortunately, any momentum picked up by those back-to-back barnstormers is negated by the disc's remaining 50 minutes, that includes unnecessary found sound from Michie's life (phone messages, studio conversations, etc.) interspersed with truly forgettable songs.
Musically, though the production is top-notch, there's nothing remotely attractive or new about what she's doing.
And lyrically, the rapper doesn't do much throughout the CD except expound upon issues brought up on the first song.
Sadly, Michie Mee has done nothing with The First Cut except ensure that if and when people talk about her, it will be about the promising career she once had and the great things that she could have done.
1. Interlude:The Album
2.Ripped Mee Off
3.Don't Wanna Be Your Slave
5.Time Is Now
6.Interlude: Uncle Nigel
7.I'm The One
9.Love It Or Leave It Alone
10.I'll Call You
12.Fun Surround Dem
13.Lady Luck (The Darkside)
14.Interlude: Fakin Jamaican
15.Cut Off (Unclean)
21.Cut Off (Clean Version - Hidden Track)