EVDEP023 – Crystal Precious – The Striphop EP
It takes a long time to perfect one’s apple pie. Crystal Precious knows this well.
Crystal is, perhaps, best known as the long-time Mistress of Ceremonies for Sweet Soul Burlesque, the internationally recognized, longest running professional neo-burlesque troupe in Western Canada. From there, she spent six years serving as executive director of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, a festival she helped create, as well as four years as manager/co-owner of the underground cabaret, Dollhouse Studios. Recently, she has moved away from the managerial aspect of the scene to focus more on performance, and her style is unlike any other.
Hailing from the North of BC and informed by Winnipeg’s underground music scene, Crystal Precious, a formally trained vocalist, has taken the reigns as the world’s first striphop MC. Mixing vintage glamour with a predilection for fresh quips, razor-sharp rhymes, and locally grown hip-hop beats, her first outing was Queen of Sass, an eight track album released locally and through her Bandcamp page in early 2014. It was produced entirely by Self Evident, whose hip hop, crunk, midtempo, juke, and booty bass stylings have appeared live alongside the likes of the Bug, Skream, Bassnectar, Kraddy, Starkey and countless others, and appeared on record through Aufect, Lighta!, Dipped, and East Van Digital. The album was a labor of love, and a great deal of learning happened in the process.
Skip to 2015, and the world at large, ready or not, is set to embrace The Striphop EP, based on the concept of hip hop you can strip to. Serving as the soundtrack to Crystal and her troupe’s wild burlesque cabaret show, this EP takes the best six of those original album tracks and presents them re-sequenced and re-mastered for maximum effect, showcasing the rich variety in Self Evident’s beats and Crystal’s vocals.
“Dark Night” kicks it all off with a booming upright bass, trumpet, and guitar-laden trip-hop beat, while Crystal’s sultry lounge vocals land somewhere between Lou Rhodes of Lamb and Shirley Bassey.
“Striphop” has a funky beat with organ stabs, piano chords, bluesy electric guitar, and a sweet scratching peak, over which Crystal takes on a fierce hip-hop delivery like Jean Grae.
“Apple Pie” is the EP’s centerpiece. It is pure party, with a downtempo beat channeling the electro-funk sound championed by Chromeo as Crystal delivers lyrically on the finer points of slice distribution.
The beat for “Crazy” is true coolness, a heavily layered track injecting a touch of Tipper-esque liquid percolation into an old school hip-hop aesthetic. Crystal’s vocals here are smoky and seductive, sounding a bit like a young Kathleen Turner.
“Stirring” hits like a ton of bricks, a massive beat and groaning bassline supported by emotional strings. It sets a serious mood, over which Crystal delivers her sickest hip-hop flow, serious as a heart attack but smooth as silk.
“Throwin’ That Shade” closes the EP with a trap-flavored beat, skittering percussion with a mountain-crumbling kick, siren synth pad, and plinky lead, while Crystal out-Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” with her flow.
If there was any question about the legitimacy of striphop before, this is the answer. It’s for real, and Crystal Precious is running that shit. Everyone likes apple pie, and she is gonna serve the world a big slice.
April 10th, 2015
Direct Purchase Links:
Crystal Precious – The Striphop EP (Includes 5 bonus acapellas)
All tracks CanCon.
Language warning tracks 2, 6.