A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2004
Tropic Of Cancer
Well, this is an odd CD. In 2003, Seattle rap trio Cancer Rising dropped their debut album titled Sippin’ Music. The following year, the group was working on new songs and put out this teaser-slash-promo disc titled Tropic Of Cancer. It came out on Mad Passion Entertainment, and contained six songs which would all appear on Cancer Rising’s sophomore effort Search For The Cure in 2005.
This early “Scenery” version here is wildly celebratory, the beat goes full kitchen sink with a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade of musical elements. At one point, rapper Judas seems to admit that it’s cluttered, complaining that the “la-la” voices on the chorus are taking over his headphones. The mix of “Scenery” that ended up on Search For The Cure is radically reconstructed. The melody is more stoic, and it keeps some savings for a rainy day, which to me matches the struggle-oriented lyrical content infinitely better. Thankfully they removed the “la-las” in the final version.
Another one of Cancer Rising’s best songs of their career, the inspirational “Stand Up,” is displayed here in an early incarnation. I much prefer this minimal Tropic Of Cancer version of “Stand Up” without the indulgent, royal horn flourishes that ended up on the final version. This track always gets me fired up to accomplish something, just like listening to a lecture by Zig Ziglar.
The five Bonus tracks are where the party gets turned up. Bonus #1 is a barreling Cancer Rising freestyle over a DJ Arson-spun rap instrumental merry-go-round that starts with “The Jumpoff” then runs through a bunch of other top 40 beats. Bonus #2 shows more dope freestyle talent. “These cats is watching the keyhole, cause they know that Tapatio and Tabasco ain’t got nothing on me oh,” raps Gatsby. Bonus #3 is a long freestyle featuring Judas and a guest MC dropping excellent rhymes to the beat of “The Bounce” by Jay Z. Bonus cut #4 is “Get A Hit” from Sippin’ Music. Bonus #5 has DJ Scene on the wheels and it’s a perfect way to end the disc. “We wrecking every record we on,” boasts Cancer Rising. So true. Written by Novocaine132