Friends With the Help – Learners [Review]
Vancouver, BC – Learners is the third project by Friends With the Help. Consisting of East Van’s Low Lux, Young Nige, and DJ K-Rec, the trio strayed away from Vancouver’s usual hip-hop offerings; the 13-track album is an adult contemporary rap experience.
With lyrics like, “Give me a yeehaw Vancouver, I see ya/My feet off the ground as I ride by the seawall,” the laid back tone of the album is set with the opening tracks, “So I’ve Thought” and “These Are the Things.” The mood becomes a little emotional for the third track, “Mashed Potatoes.” Sampling Rufus Wainwright’s “I Eat Dinner,” the duo shift the original message of the song to a relatable version with lyrics that most listeners will be able to identify with. “I made a lot of mistakes/Ya I went on some dates when it felt too lonesome to wait/Masterbating to wet pages didn’t make me feel too great.”
Two thirds into the album, the upbeat, subtle Bollywood-ish sound of ‘K-Lude #6 was a surprising addition. The beats for “New York Friends”and “Those Ladies” have a pop-influence and is similar to the background music found in a Pokemon video game. The album ends with a combination of that elevator music and the previous chill vibe in “Time Hurries On.”
Compared to their last projects, the flow of Learners is by far the best. Young Nige’s humorous storytelling against Low Luxe’s grittier bars compliments the vibe of K-Rec’s beats extremely well. If this album doesn’t give you a feel for what Canada’s west coast is all about, I don’t know what else will. Old school beats paired with honest, bud-induced lyricism. Welcome to Vancouver.
Learners can be purchased and streamed on Bandcamp now. Click here to check it out.
Written by Shaheena Azmatullah for HipHopCanada