Picks and Pans Review: 12 Inches of Snow
As his nom de rap suggests, Snow is one MC who is a whiter shade of pale, but he is as fast on the mike as anyone out there. As his handle also suggests, Snow hails from the frozen north. Toronto, his home, has a massive Caribbean population, and it was in that city's Allenbury projects that Darron O'Brian, now 22, absorbed the reggae and hip-hop he makes his own.
Snow has led less than a sterling life so far; in January he completed a one-year jail sentence for assault and battery—not his first scrape with the law. His incarcerations flavor the moody, mournful "Lonely Monday Morning" and the pumped up, hip-hop-infused single "Informer."
In the rap-reggae hybrid known as dancehall, performing personas tend to fall into one of two camps: the pelvis-grinding, do me, "slack" school (Shabba Ranks) and the gangsta pose (Supercat). Snow straddles both. He can turn on the sneer and the danger, threatening in "Informer" to kill anyone who dares snitch. On the R&B-laced "Uhh in You," he's all hormones and bravado, and singing on the lovely "Lady with the Red Dress," his reedy tenor gives one long heartsick plea for a little sign. Don't dis him' cause he's a white boy. Unlike yesterday's block of Vanilla Ice, Snow ain't likely to melt. (EastWest)