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T.City (read: T Dot City) is a Toronto MC who’s been pumping out tracks and videos since the summer of 2010. City rhymes with ease, spitting carefree, wandering lyrics over soul and synth heavy samples, reminiscent of a Curren$y who had passed on the last blunt, and has no problems enunciating (ZING!). Yet for each meandering rhyme, there’s another that delivers the same effortless swag with surprising fortitude over a driving beat.
Like others in Toronto’s crop of young, up and coming MC’s, T delivers sharply-produced video’s at a furious pace, and has a substantial Twitter following. City’s standout video (thus far) is ‘BeetleJuice’ (above) released in September ahead of his latest (and free to download) mixtape; The Morning After. BeetleJuice starts with City waving a stick at the viewer while his crew drinks 40’s in a derelict and much graffiti’d locale (I pray this is Toronto, because this place is awesome!).
The stuttering electronic beat instantly feels like the cool-to-be-weird ethic of the Odd Futures crew, but City stamps it as his own as his rhymes switch to double time and back again line by line. Just as the viewer gets comfortable T surprises again, declaring (at 1:02) that he “has little homies riding like [he] roll[s] with Kony” over a shot of a couple of white kids letting out some pre-teen angst on the building. Whether this shot is to disorient or just entertain it proves to be the video’s most memorable moment. The delivery of gangster rhymes with a nod to Toronto’s multiculturalism shows just how boundless and versatile the city’s rap scene can be.
One of T’s best attributes is his ability to balance themes, and change gears. On one hand City raps about “[sippin’] red cup”, “smokin’ missiles” and tweets about his love for 40oz’s, but on the other he’s just as comfortable slowing it down and rhyming about his thirsty late-night conquests while sporting a Ryerson University sweater. An inability to stay hot over more than one type of beat has plagued the city’s rap scene for years, but the city’s newest wave of rappers, T included, realize that it’s not one extreme (pure thuggery) or the other (pop-hop) that hits the sweet spot, but rather somewhere in between. Even though it’s taken years for Americans, and even Canadians to accept Toronto’s version of rap, T dot City proves there are a million interesting stories up here that have yet to be told.
You can check ‘The Morning After’ mixtape, in its entirety here.
By Aaron R