T.Dot representative 4th Pyramid probably has a Rolodex that would make any hip-hop head worth his salt green with envy. In the span of a decade the emcee/producer has gone from making beats on his Pops' desktop computer to collaborating and touring with the likes of indieground royalty such as C-Rayz Wallz, DOOM and the Def Jux camp in addition to the Wu, M.O.P., Redman, EPMD, and The Pharcyde. Pyramid Scheme, his newest solo joint released through his Silk Ivory/Lyrics to Go imprint and Universal, has a decidedly more Canadian flavor, the majority of the guest emcees and producers being fellow Canucks. Marco Polo and Saukrates both rep Toronto lovely on “Feel It In My Bones” and the current single “So Balboa” respectively.
The titular track of the lp, “Pyramid Scheme”, encompasses everything 4th Pyramid's about as a hip hop artist, he's not really throwing any curve balls but still maintains a progressive edge. It clocks in a little over two minutes and 4th Pyramid waxes succinctly autobiographical about where he's been and where he's going over a flute-laden self produced banger. For better or worse, the trope of a significant other as a metaphor for hip hop is obligatory for any rapper not on top 40 radio, “How Can I Love You” is a fresh take on it however. It's a soulful joint utilizing a nice flip of the strings from Mary J. Blige's “Everything” and 4th Pyramid is brutally honest with himself and the listener. “How can I love you when you keep me on this broke shit?/ A few bucks just about enough to smoke with/ How could I not hold a grudge/ when critics rip apart, it's the soul that they judge/ Once did it for the art, now I'm in it for the buzz/ but it's hard for me to break because I'm not mimicking the club.”
“It's So Hot” is the partystarter featuring (who else?) Greg Nice that you'll probably only ever hear at the house party of some musically enlightened individual. If 4th Pyramid's not mimicking the club, he and Greg Nice still do their best to get asses shaking. Rich Kidd, another T.Dot producer/emcee contributes three beats to the project, all solid, the best of which is “Creep Quick”, a track he also spits on. He and 4th Pyramid trade bars about groupie love on the road over a neck-snapping romp complete with both the requisite jazzy horn sample to please the backpack crowd and enough headnodding bass to sound pretty good in a whip with a decent sound system.
End to end, Pyramid Scheme is a good album with high replay value. 4th Pyramid has made great strides as an emcee compared to his earlier work and the rhymes, while only adequate at times, are never wack and for the most part are on point. Also, the fact that he as a producer/emcee was mature and secure enough to let other cats quite ably help with the production load speaks volumes about where 4th Pyramid is as an artist. Pyramid Scheme is good hip-hop, and hopefully there's more to come from our northern neighbors.
- T. Love