Canada’s Eternia routinely goes unfairly unmentioned among the best female emcees in the game. She doesn’t have the quirkiness or commercial hype of say, a Nicki Minaj; rather her style and delivery are heavily reminiscent of that of a battle rapper. At Last, entirely produced by MoSS, shows that while she has the ability to spit lines you’d hear while standing in the cypher, she’s also got a deeper, serious side that comes out in her music that can remind listeners of Slug’s work as the MC part of Atmosphere. Wrap this part-battle rapper, part-graphic real life storyteller in the body of a white Canadian female, and somehow you’ve got a winning combination, evidenced by a 2006 Juno nomination for Rap Recording of the Year for her debut, It’s Called Life.
At Last goes from entertaining to dark, from wordplay and bravado to issues ranging from her experiences with alcoholism and sexual abuse. For every good time had while listening to the lyrical exercises like the Joell Ortiz-assisted “It’s Funny” and “The BBQ” (which gets absolutely ripped by Rah Digga and the Lady of Rage), there’s a serious counterbalance that comes in the form songs like “Pass That” and “To the Future”. Eternia doesn’t use these serious moments to throw herself a pity party, though, as these songs can act as triumph over some pretty serious demons, as she’s able to put some pretty serious issues on record. The album follows a formula made familiar by Rhymesaysers rappers Slug and Brother Ali, as their albums have also featured great production and lyricism, and specifically a raw look into MC’s personal lives that presents a reality that Eternia herself points out: “We’re not stars, we’re people.” It’s an honest attempt to connect with listeners on a deeper level, and while it may drive some away, those who do become engaged gain a deeper appreciation for it, either through identification with her or an appreciation of her honesty and confidence in facing her past.
The album is structured with the serious topics at the middle and end, as listeners are roped in by the impressive lyricism and energy exhibited in the beginning tracks and are taken on a serious ride after those end, whether they like it or not. The album’s title itself can be seen as Eternia declaring her freedom from these demons, “at last.” She exudes confidence, and MoSS does a good job of capturing her energy and translating it into his production. While there may have been times where I wasn’t thrilled (looking at you, “Catch Me”), at no point was I ever really bored, as MoSS knew he had to match her energy. While the production is mostly solid throughout, there isn’t anything revolutionary. Couple that with some of the album’s darker themes, and there are issues with replay value. However, Eternia shows that, at last, she deserves to be mentioned among the most talented female emcees out there.