While not the same "Up North Trip" the Infamous Mobb Deep was talking about in '95, Under Pressure Records looks to take you on a journey up into Canada's blossoming Hip Hop scene with their second installment in the compilation series. With a combination of old and new material, "Up North Trip Vol. 2" does a solid job at showcasing some of Canada's up and coming Hip Hop acts. However, with such a vast amount of sounds and styles, the album fails to stay consistent throughout, leaving much of the material hit or miss.
While the compilation album manages to throw in a couple big named superstars and underground heroes, for the most part the lineup of emcees will remain one big blur to listeners not willing to stick with the album for an extended period of time. Artists such as Abdominal, Blurim 13, Chance Won, D-Shade & The Sebutones fail to impress with their lukewarm efforts on the album. Whether it is lackluster and boring production efforts, as seen on Bless's "The Next", or abstract ramblings of "Unbreakable" by Shades of Culture, "Up North Trip Vol. 2" manages to stay inconsistent throughout.
But all hope is not lost, as the album does manage to feature some remarkable efforts that are wedged in between the overload of filler tracks. The most notable of these is "Under Pressure" by Simahlak & Theology 3. The vintage Hip Hop track features a masterful production effort from Simahlak, which blends all too well with the songs distinct vibe. The only two hardcore joints featured on the album, "Not Gangsta" by Troy Dunnit & "Rugged Raw" by DL Incognito & DJ Grouch, give the album a refreshing sound that is much needed. Necro's usual dark and haunting production on Troy's street anthem "Not Gangsta" is extremely dope, as is DL's lyrical wordplay on "Rugged Raw". "Up North Trip's" biggest name, Royce 5'9, makes a disappointing appearance on the Mr. Rumble produced "R.A.W.", which also features up and comer Checkmate, Concise & DJ Revolution. While not the best production effort, the track manages to blend well with each emcee, even though Royce's jacking of Eminem's "Dead Wrong" verse is nothing short of abysmal.
While it's always great to hear new up and coming talent, especially from the Canada, which is too often overlooked; "Up North Trip Vol. 2" fails to keep the listener entertained from beginning to end and falls into the same predictable pattern that every compilation album does these days. There are some shining moments, but those come too far in between, and in the end your trip up north will only have you longing to come back home.