Take away the cliches like we do, and seemingly rappers run out of fallbacks to revisit when short of ideas. This tends to result in underground hip-hop filled with tracks about ‘laxing or what sports they like and a special kind of artist will get preachy on a greater than thou tip. And now Canadian nerdcore-ish rapper More or Less is determined to get food, if it hasn’t been already, added to that list of staples.
His forth album, appropriately titled Mastication, rarely steps away from the dinner table. One glance at the track list and you’ll find something that reads more like an appetising menu, if albeit with a few sprinkles of boom bap battle rapping throughout.
Mastication showcases More or Les’ infectious flow to near perfection. The opener “Bruschetta” is More or Les at his rawest, “you go make that chocolate rain like Tay Zonday / I’m a stay sweet with the flame like souffléd flambé”. Meanwhile “Saltines” is one of the best ‘posse cuts’ you’ve heard in a long while.
“for a few minutes after I’ve eaten. That stuff needs heating / for fifty minutes. And that’s what a decent / pot of vegan chili is. Have it wit’ bread or rice / Let it sit in the fridge two days later? twice as nice.”
However it can get a little corny at points. I appreciate the idea on “Filet Migion” but the hook’s vocals and overall production don’t really click for me. It’s all a bit too bad pop. But if nothing else, that track serves as a great example of the creative uses of the food concept on this album. Rather than simply glorifying food, he’ll use it as a metaphor to make other points (see “Consumption”) or take shots at corporations that have made food the big business that it is, in “Fast Food” & “Big Sugar”. For the most part this is cleverly done and keeps the album from becoming stale.
While this isn’t the first time we’ve heard More or Les rhyme about food, and it probably won’t be the last, he’s probably the only rapper who could sustain interest in such a played out subject over an entire album. His clever usage of metaphors and likeable personality help what sounds like a tedious and flawed concept.
While a few tracks are slightly cheesy, what do you expect listening to an album by a frequently collaborator of Wordburglar on an album entirely about food? Listening to Mastication is just like ordering take-out pizza, you get exactly what you expect everytime. Luckily with More or Les, that’s not a bad thing.
More or Les’ Mastication was released on the 4th of September and can be bought on his Bandcamp