Toronto’s been having a rough go of it lately, but it’s fortunate that the city’s creators are still committed to making music that brings life to both the ends and the downtown core. It’s not every day we have three albums from Toronto rap notables come out all at once, which seems insignificant to the rest of the world but this also isn’t about the rest of the world. Today, July 27, is a pretty good day for Toronto.
First up is Fleurever, the long-awaited debut retail album from Kensington firebrand Jazz Cartier. It’s a departure from the imperious and operatic style he’s called his own over the past couple of years, instead focused on succinct club tracks and even some lovelorn ballads. It also contains maybe the most Toronto soundbite of all time, a clip of a TTC subway pulling into Spadina station.
Koba World, the first group-credited album from veritable Toronto legends Prime Boys, is a more somber affair. Its title pays tribute to affiliate Koba Prime, killed in the same Queen West shooting that claimed fellow local star Smoke Dawg. While there’s definitely something of a dark pall cast over the project as a result, Jimmy Prime, Donnie Prime, and Jay Whiss treat the affair as a raucous wake instead of a dour funeral, remembering their friend through dynamic bangers and an audible sense of camaraderie.
Finally, we have an example of fresh blood being infused into the Toronto scene. Adrian Dey, the newest member of the IXXI collective, has made his name through isolated songs that demonstrated his skill at spitting, but his EP Summer League reveals him as a figure to be contended with. He’s closer to the toughest rap coming out of the American South, like BlocBoy JB, than any typically Toronto crooner. The project takes less than ten minutes to make its impact, and that short, sharp shock works wonders for Dey.
As Summer reaches its end, any of these three albums are worthy of being your soundtrack of the moment and the seasons to come.