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Shocka - The Raw Tape

Joel Barnhart
May 24, 2011

[Note from the editor] This album came mysteriously to my inbox a while back, so I gave it a listen. It ended up peaking my interest enough that I asked Joel to look into this Shocka lyricist and give it his honest opinion knowing he has a different ear for hip hop than I do. I thought it was a pretty solid album that got better as the tracks went on. - Dan

JB: I'm sure by now that it's no mystery that I'm a fan of hip hop. I've done articles about hip hop artists and music countless times in the past, so I'm sure by now everyone has figured this out by now. That said however, I'm really picky about the hip hop I listen to. I'm a huge fan of artists like Heiroglyphics, Souls of Mischief, the Pharcyde, Kool Keith, Aesop Rock and more locally, artists like Shad, Classified and J. Shiltz. The more mainstream sounding hip hop, while I can still appreciate it, isn't quite my plate of nachos.

This brings me to The Raw Tape, by Shocka. Now, I'm going to preface this by saying that it's not a bad album per se. Objectively speaking, it's pretty solid. It just fits more into the type of hip hop that I don't listen to a lot.

Sheldon "Shocka" Thompson, from Toronto, has been rapping since 2004 at the relatively young age of 15. He released The Raw Tape in 2011. The album itself is well produced, with higher production values than I was expecting from an album with the word "raw" in it. Shocka's flow is good, though on this album is a bit slower than I like. I think the album would do well with a mainstream audience. You can tell he is influenced by mainstream hip hop artists like Kanye West, R. Kelly and Jay-Z. It's a very well rounded album, featuring fast, danceable songs that would be perfect for clubs, slower romantic songs, drinkin songs, etc. It features electronic beats and features artists such as Char, Naja, Trouble and Skriptz.

Like I said, objectively speaking, it's a great album and I can see why other people would like it, but it's not my cup of tea. If it sounds like the kind of hip hop you'd be interested in though, you can check it out below.

- Joel Barnhart -
Shocka - the Raw Tape