Ron Contour & Factor
With over 40 albums to his credit, Canadian MC and producer Moka Only will never be accused of artistic brevity. Over the course of his long career, Moka Only has shown flashes of brilliance and waves of redundancy; many of his LPs differ musically but they all lyrically blur. Perhaps in a fit of boredom, Moka renamed himself Flow Torch in 2000 (releasing a project under that moniker) and a year later introduced the character Ron Contour. Sonically, there is little difference notable in these reinventions – not to discredit Moka Only’s attempt at creativity. In Moka’s collaboration with fellow Canadian producer Factor handling all the production, Ron Contour’s vision is essentially just another hazy trip into the mind of Moka.
The LP begins with “Check It Out,” and Factor’s jazzy track is just busy enough for Contour to exhibit his cool, confident rhymes that serve as an introduction to the project. “Diner” is a busier track from Factor and Contour adopts a more aggressive, braggadocios style. Again, searching for topical relevancy isn’t what one should do with a Moka Only recording. Contour raps and raps well on this track, even when it meanders. “Confused Nougat” employs classic rock-styled samples and the pace quickens even more. Contour matches up amicably with the track but the song fails to hold much attention compared to the previous offerings. The debut single “Glad” is perhaps the most focused track thus far with Contour ably riding the somber track and adding well-placed vocals on the hook – the first to appear on the LP. “Whipple Tree” continues the trend of solid production from Factor and capable rhyming from Contour. By now, the rambling style achieves a manner of cohesion. Moka sadly doesn’t take many risks as Ron Contour, but it entertains nonetheless.
“Prairie Wind” is quite easily Factor’s strongest track thus far. Contour does his best to match the quality of the track and nearly loses out; as luck would have it, the song is painfully too short. “Wondrous” is a wonderfully breezy track and Contour’s voice matches up perfectly. The sampled hook ties together the track but Contour definitely propels the song with style and pattern switches within the song. “I Only Know” employs some funky yet plodding production and Contour sleepily delivers his rhymes thus rendering the track a pure snoozer. The LP’s closer “Shoe Box” features former Moka Only collaborator Def 3, a sadly uneventful end to a solid album. Def 3 steals the show with his verse but the hook is a droning mess. Overall, Saffron will satisfy the Moka Only fans and should serve as a worthy appetizer before his next release. There are moments of auditory brilliance present on the LP and the snags, while glaring, never take away too much from the flow of this solid album.
— D.L. Chandler