Album Review: Swollen Members—”Brand New Day”

Swollen Members

By Brandon Benguaich

In the world of Canadian hip hop, there are many unknown gems, of which Swollen Members, hailing from Vancouver, are one. Currently consisting of Madchild, Prevail, and Rob the Viking,  Swollen Members boast platinum certification as well as four Juno awards for their 2001 album Bad Dreams, and gold certification for their 2002 album Monsters in the Closet. Their new record, Brand New Day, contains fifteen tracks of pure diversity. The album also boasts the group’s virtuosity through its production by Rob the Viking and the dialogue between MCs Madchild and Prevail.

Swollen Members fit well within the Vancouver hip hop spectrum, as well as that of Canada as a whole. While still having the appeal to branch off to more than just Canadians, they are a staple of Canadian hip hop, with Brand New Day strongly complimenting their earlier discography. The album is not particularly adventurous, but rather stays true to that familiar old-school hip hop sound, featuring scratching, plenty of samples, and looping. Swollen Members keep it simple, especially within their backing tracks, containing familiar sounds like real drum samples. Brand New Day’s title suggests the action of moving on, a theme particularly relevant to Madchild as he attempts to move beyond and conquer his past drug problems. The album does not feature any other rappers or singers; Swollen Members rely on themselves and their own creativity and lyricism, unlike many other rappers in the mainstream today.

A landmark song on Brand New Day is the title track, in which Madchild gives closure on his troubled history of drug abuse, stating “I look at the glass half full.” Complimented by the beat, this track is happy and pleasant, representative of a new hope and a new future for the MC. I also can’t help but dance to the sample of children singing throughout the entire track, something I haven’t heard a lot. Surprisingly, there is not a single track on this album I don’t like. Another notable track is “Supernova,” maybe because you can hear the word “lasagna” rhymed with “persona” so effortlessly and flawlessly. Madchild and Prevail are seasoned and experienced rappers, and have descriptive lyricism and brilliant technique with good tonality within their voices, reminiscent of classic ‘90s rap.

Check out Brand New Day by Swollen Members for some good hip hop. (Battle Axe)

2 Responses to “Album Review: Swollen Members—”Brand New Day””
  1. Nick says:

    Good review, the only thing is the upbeat song you talked about and called called Cock Blocker is actually the title song Brand New Day.

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