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Monsters In the Closet

Swollen Members

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Album Review

This trawl through the vaults of the Vancouver-based hip-hop collective Swollen Members is unusual for a collection of B-sides and leftovers — in that it ends up being more forward- than backward-looking. That's because the underground stalwarts — Mad Child and Prevail, plus recent addition Moka Only — decided to record a few new songs to fill out the disc, which ends up pointing the way to possible commercial successes previously undreamed of. "Breath," with its hook from Nelly Furtado and a juicy R&B foundation, could slot comfortably between the latest Murder Inc. and P. Diddy hits on a mix tape, while the manic "Battle Axe Exclusive" rages along in true Eminem fashion. Such moments won't necessarily be a pleasant surprise for the Members' devoted fanbase, but the remainder of Monsters in the Closet provides a generous helping of the less-conventional musical ambition that has won the group comparisons to Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, and other old-school revivalists. There's one true gem — "Long Way Down," a sensitive love song that samples Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream" — and many outtakes of better-than-average quality; though they aren't all monsters, they certainly deserve to come out of hiding.

Biography

Formed: Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The meeting of two West Coast rappers fuelled this talented Canadian band. In 1996, Mad Child was a solo artist performing in San Francisco when he returned to his hometown of Vancouver. There he met Prevail, who was gaining attention for his energetic live shows and abilities. The two joined forces and headed to San Diego to perform at the annual B-Boy Summit. The group was initiated into the Rock Steady Crew, one of only three bands to do so. Following this, the group released three independent...
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Monsters In the Closet, Swollen Members
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