x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Kardinal Offishall: Not 4 Sale

Proves itself one of the best albums of a long and predominantly dry hip-hop year.

Jason Harrow aka Kardinal Offishall.
Jason Harrow aka Kardinal Offishall.

Despite hip-hop's long relationship with Jamaican soundsystem culture, rap-reggae fusions remain fraught with peril. Just witness the way that even though an increasing number of North American stars are liberally adding jerk-spiced guest vocals by the likes of Sean Paul and Junior Reid to their work, few manage to achieve truly flavoursome results. Fortunately, Toronto's Jason Harrow, better known as Kardinal Offishall, is on hand to show how it should be done. Ever since the raggamuffin rasp and the scorching, Neptunes-helmed spraycan backing track of 2003's Belly Dancer, his presence has been an underappreciated blessing for both genres. Now under the multi-million-dollar wing of Akon's Kon Live label, it appears to be time for his star to shine. Part streetwise MC, part Caribbean deejay, Offishall is equally at home voicing rugged bashment riddims and chrome-plated R&B instrumentals. Given this versatility, that the dancehall producers Jeremy Harding (Bad Like We Bad) and the Black Chiney crew's Supa Dups (the Rihanna-featuring Numba) rub shoulders with artists including T-Pain (Go Home With You) and the ghetto rappers par excellence Clipse (Set It Off) is to be applauded. Add the infectious lead single Dangerous and Not 4 Sale proves itself one of the best albums of a long and predominantly dry hip-hop year.