Classic rock hip hop? Canadian group blends the old with the new…they just don’t don’t do it well

Canadian hip hop artists iLLvibe and Absent Minded combine to create Blunts and Roses, and create an album that is interesting, and thankfully free. PHOTO COURTESY BLUNTS AND ROSES

Taylor Rocca, Roving Editor  Ω

Blunts and Roses’ self-titled album takes listeners on a hip hop/classic rock roller-coaster ride.

Good roller-coasters have more highs than lows — unfortunately that isn’t the case here.

If you are a hip hop or classic rock fan, this album is worth a listen.

Just be prepared to be disappointed and impressed as you make your way through 46 minutes of unique hip hop.

If you are a classic rock traditionalist, do yourself a favour and avoid this album.

Blunts and Roses is a Canadian hip-hop duo comprising hip-hop artists iLLvibe and Absent Minded.

iLLvibe has toured with the likes of Sean Paul and Busta Rhymes while Absent Minded has received a Toronto Independent Music Award nomination and toured alongside rappers like Method Man and Kardinall Offishall.

Released on Dec. 31, 2011, the album is powered by samplings of numerous classic rock tracks.

From the Beatles and Rolling Stones to Queen and Guns n’ Roses, Blunts and Roses samples some of rock’s greatest legends.

Because the album is driven by such notable sampling, Blunts and Roses have chosen to distribute the album for free via a download link on their website bluntsandroses.com.

They get brownie points from me for giving away their music.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t pay for it.

The best track on the album is F.B.G., which samples Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls.

Upbeat and fast-paced, Blunts and Roses hit a homerun in mixing this classic rock hit with their hip-hop sound.

The opening track samples the Beatles’ Come Together.

As the recognizable Beatles’ intro thumps through the speakers, the duo whines their name three times over.

It grinds my gears when artists feel the need to tell the listener their name somewhere in the midst of a song. It sends a message that the artist doesn’t believe the listener is intelligent enough to read the name on the album.

Momma Told Me samples Lynyrd Skynyrd and has a nice balance between the hip-hop vocals and the familiar Skynyrd southern-rock groove.

Sampling the iconic rock song You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones, the chilling church choir opens the track and transitions into a smooth opening verse that has a raspy vocal resemblance to well-known Canadian hip-hopper Buck 65.

The chorus comes along and they find a way to mess it up.

Out of tune and disjointed, they fail at putting a good spin on Mick Jagger’s original.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door samples Guns n’ Roses’ cover of the Bob Dylan classic and production errors are apparent.

Due to the painfully noticeable start and end of the loop, it is clear that the GNR guitar intro has been crudely cut. This unfortunate lack of professional polish takes away from an otherwise decent track.

One, featuring sampling from Metallica, suffers the same failure as Knocking on Heaven’s Door as there are issues with the looping guitar.

Swallowed samples Bush, but this track is an awkward outlier because it isn’t sampling a classic rock track. Swallowed is too modern to be categorized with the classic rock acts heard on the rest of the album.

All in all, Blunts and Roses is worth a listen, but definitely not destined to become a favourite in your collection.