Canada's Under Pressure Magazine has struggled with their first two installments of the Up North Trip series, but thankfully, the third time is the charm. Up North Trip Vol. 3 is an extremely solid and cohesive compilation album that assembles a variety of up and coming emcees from all over the North America. While Vol. 2 suffered from inconsistent performances and sub par production. Vol. 3 improves upon its predecessors mistakes in every way possible.
If you have ever yearned for a vintage b-boy compilation, than this album is for you. Everything about Up North Trip Vol. 3 screams vintage Hip Hop. G. Knight and Eternia epitomize the culture perfectly with "Victorious", which acts as a clinic in lyrical excellence. Both emcees deliver noteworthy performances over DJ Mercilless' breezy backdrop and soulful vocal sample. The fiery political angst of "War" is another superb effort, thanks to the trio Groundwerks and Manchilde's captivating hook, which is down right amazing. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Embassy's "Lemme Tell You" is the album's most aggressive cut, with its hard-hitting drums, sporadic keys and light horns. The group mixes political apprehension with street knowledge, making for a unique mix that blends perfectly.
While Up North Trip Vol. 3 is filled with an abundant amount of talent, there are unfortunately a few lackluster performances on the album. Tara Chase, who sounds extremely similar to Jean Grae in every way possible, puts forth a bland effort with "Should'a Nev'a". In addition, the spacey synthesizer sounds of "Tha Righteous" by Mathematik falters due to its awkward production, as does Specifics' "Tale Of Two Cities".
Even though compilation albums have a history of producing more filler material than quality music, Under Pressure's Up North Trip Vol. 3 breaks the mold. While not perfect, the album does a good job at showcasing a variety up and coming talent that deserves to be heard.