Super Duty Tough Work – Quiet Strength / New Sight
Inspired by the dirty jazz loop sound of 90s east coast hip hop, Super Duty Tough Work are the live incarnation of hip hop culture’s quintessential era, appearing as a band (we know, stay with us) but manifesting a sound that’s more akin to something straight out of an MPC or SP-404 sampler. Revered for their methodically curated sets, SDTW mixes laidback rap action and razor-sharp delivery with effortless loops sewn together with surprising transitions, keeping audiences on their feet and salivating in anticipation as to what’s coming next. Simply put: internationalism is the theme, liberation through hedonism is the dream, and satisfaction is guaranteed from the team whose specialty is taking audiences on a journey through a culture where loops are slayed and jewels are the tools of the trade.
After being a live show only act for years, the group released their debut EP Studies in Grey, in September 2019, followed by a cross country tour. Eight months later Studies in Grey received a Polaris Prize nod in the form of a Long List nomination, followed shortly thereafter with a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Best Rap & Hip Hop Artist. The Polaris nod makes SDTW the first Manitoba based hip hop act to be nominated for the prize.
This two track single is in advance of their forthcoming album ‘Paradigm Shift’ (Release Date: September 8th, 2023). With a heavy dose of the usual witty, provocative, carefree lyricism we’ve come to expect from frontman Brendan Grey, mixed with some catchy hooks and melodic choruses sure to become ear-worms. On the other hand, the underlying themes of anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, celebrity/idol worship and climate catastrophe can only be made to be so fun, making for an interesting dichotomy as the listener is pushed and pulled in a few very different directions throughout. The content can get pretty heavy, but in the same breath, it’s composed and presented in such a stylish and effortless manner, proving that a spoonful of honey (and a couple zoots) really does help the medicine go down. Cloaked at times in the dusty sample sound of golden era hip hop (p.s., it’s all live), while in other places utilizing a more contemporary approach such as trap hi-hats, House synths and 808 bass pads, this record clearly exemplifies the group’s growth, as we see them cover new ground both thematically and sonically. The heavy content and ear-pleasing soundscapes are so well put together that you don’t always realize that you’re listening to songs often exploring the symptoms and results of what can only be described as settler-colonialism and predatory/late stage capitalism/neoliberal economics, while also calling for the hanging of Elon Musk and redistribution of all stolen wealth hoarded by the billionaire class.