If you’re not a fan of hip-hop and you call yourself a millennial – you’re not in the club. For such a vast generation of people, hip-hop is a gem of nostalgia and identity that touches just about every facet of our society. As the self-professed generation of nostalgia, hip hop is an incredibly well-suited genre with a track record of epic throwback culture. It’s because of this constant reminder of hip hop’s history that its future remains so bright.

The true golden era of hip-hop doesn’t preside within a defined timeline either – it lives within the spirit of those who love and live it every day. As the mighty Mos Def once prophesized, “every time you ask yourself where hip-hop’s going, ask yourself where you’re going; how are you doing?”

Cue Spliff Wicked and the ECG, a vibrant and innovative Grey County-based hip-hop duo and their debut album – on vinyl, no doubt – entitled, Bangers. Ripe with storytelling, rich B-boy and funk undertones, and a ton of energy, this is an album that’s going to get played a ton at my house. Why? Because I know people are going to be psyched to ask, “who is this?!” and I’ll be happy to answer.

there’s a beautiful, kind-hearted element of shit-talking that’s so welcome and charming, you can’t help but smile… There’s evidence of fun being had on this record…

The album kicks off true to its Banger title with Foundations, a juicy, heavy track with an undeniable “N.Y. State of Mind” influence, reminiscent of Nas’ 1994 release Illmatic. It’s fast-paced and aggressive, a precedent-setting momentum that carries through the first half of the album, setting the stage for Spliff Wicked and the ECG’s signature brand of Beastie Boys-influenced duet rap. MC’s Shaun Dooley and Nathan Seaman vibe back and forth, finishing each other’s stanzas, adding volume, intensity, and back-up, both symbolically and musically.


Jam City is a feel-good anthem for Grey Bruce, offering shout outs to Markdale, Wiarton, Meaford, Owen Sound, and more, honouring the region’s reputation as a hotbed of musical talent and fandom.

Gigantic is easily the standout track of the album for me. A big, brash, orchestral intro opens into a more steady rhythm – there’s a clear blended relation to jazz, funk, video games, techno, and even disco on Side B, experimenting with complex compositions that beg you to listen close and engage in the sound blasting into your eardrums.

Lyrically, there’s a beautiful, kind-hearted element of shit-talking that’s so welcome and charming, you can’t help but smile. Remember, before the ‘forties and gats’ bravado of early 2000’s rap, MC’s battled to egg on their adversaries, but seldom to slam them with malice or ill-intent.

Fire It is one such example: ‘the fire’s the desire while I’m flippin’ the script / I’ll circumcise an MC and leave ‘em holding the tip,’ croons Dooley. It’s just a fun-ass line that makes me laugh, and this album is full of them. Bangers does an excellent job of bringing innocent smack talk back to the forefront without being too vulgar or immature – it’s not aimed at anything in particular and it’s upbeat – a real treat.

The evidence of fun being had on this record, along with the true enjoyment of making beats and writing rhymes makes this album a winner – the enthusiasm you can feel in the music is infectious. It’s a modern take on old school sensibilities that offers a glimpse back to a time where hip hop was made for the sake of making music that resonated with you as an artist. The lyrics are plentiful; the beats, curated; the chirpiness, bombastic. Hell yeah. This one is a treasure for any local vinyl collector’s shelf.

You can order a vinyl copy at

Words by Nelson Phillips

Photo by John Fearnall/Good Noise