Canadian hip hop artist Muneshine is probably best known as a producer, most notably for his work with Toronto emcee D-Sisive. But for those who have followed his career more closely, they also know him as a talented emcee who released his debut album back in 2005. So while this album might be a pleasant surprise to some, I’m sure some of my neighbors north of the border expected nothing less than the quality work that’s present on There Is Only Today.

While he does produce a couple of the tracks on this album, Muneshine leaves most of that work to others, enlisting a wide range of producers, from !llmind to Buckwild to DJ Spinna, to up-and-comers like Austin’s Boom Baptist. The album is a very comprehensive listen, though, as is to be expected from an artist who’s put together his fare share of albums before. The sound of the album moves from some early ‘90s NYC style hip hop, such as Pete Rock or Premier, to some more R&B flavored tracks, with nothing sounding out of place. Muneshine might not be the emcee who’s going to blow you away with verbal dexterity, but he’s confident on the mic, and knows how to work within the framework of the music to make the most of everything. He occasionally drops the clever and sarcastic punch line that indicates that D-Sisive is rubbing off on him. In fact, the song those two did on this album, “Starter Jacket,” is exactly what you’d want from them - a heartfelt and humorous look back on their childhood, reflecting on the time when it felt like everything would be better if only you could rock a Starter Jacket. “Cry Baby,” produced by Boom Baptist, provides Shine with a sound that is somewhere between Doo-Wop and Boom Bap, and it’s laid back groove is so intoxicating, you might not noticing how much shit-talking and boasting is happening until half the song is over, but yes, he does declare that Boom Baptist is the new Madlib and his crew is the new Wu Tang or Boot Camp Clik. “Back to the Future,” which Muneshine produced himself, features fellow Canadian emcee ELMNT and Austin emcee Kydd, who finally gives me the Dirk Nowitzki hip hop reference I’ve been waiting years for. The only track that I don’t necessarily care for is the remix of “Cry Baby” at the end of the album with Teenburger. It’s not bad, but I do feel that the lyrics of the new chorus are a bit too on the nose, and not the best lyrical work that Ghettosocks or Timbuktu have done.

With There Is Only Today, Muneshine provse himself to be an emcee capable of taking the spotlight and entertaining his listeners for an entire album. You won’t find yourself wishing he stayed behind the soundboards. Far from it - Shine keeps it varied, mixing crowd rockers with some laid back grooves, boasting on some tracks, while getting personal and intimate on others. I have a feeling that There Is Only Today is going to be seen in the future as the point where Muneshine really stepped up as a solo artist.