In Char­ac­ter

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - A. HAR­MONY ERIN LOW­ERS

Devon­tée

Head Gone

Some­times he’s hid­ing in the back of a Steph Curry pic­ture and some­times you’ll find him in the kitchen with his cousin Ayesha Curry, but Toronto rap­per Devon­tée isn’t just crash­ing the party, he is the sound­track. Hav­ing taken three years to make, the Toronto rap­per’s new­est al­bum, Head Gone, is a weighty state­ment that bal­ances brag­gado­cious hooks and vul­ner­a­ble thoughts. Pro­duced al­most en­tirely him­self, with the ex­cep­tion of “Poi­son” and the oc­ca­sional co-pro­duc­tion from Daxz, Raleigh and Ravail­lac, Head Gone is a cul­mi­na­tion of in­dus­trial-echoed synths, boom­ing bass lines and evoca­tive up­beat melodies that hint at his West In­dian her­itage.

Play­ing with dif­fer­ent flows and tones, Devon­tée weaves through Head Gone like he’s play­ing dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, suitable for the cin­e­matic pro­duc­tion that stands be­hind it. While “Fross” high­lights a higher and more melodic de­liv­ery, “Wild West” echoes deeper tones and a grit­tier flow. “Bad ’Em Up” of­fers up a dis­tinc­tively Auto-Tuned trap song (think Young Thug) and the reg­gae-in­fused, pa­tois-rapped “50 Cal­iber” comes off as a dif­fer­ent artist al­to­gether — but in a good way. De­spite his abil­ity to switch styles song by song, Devon­tée still re­serves space for Eyez, Pro Era’s CJ Cly and vet­eran Toronto rap­per Kar­di­nal Off­ishall on “Real Rudeb­woy,” a sweet­er­man’s an­them over gluti­nous pro­duc­tion.

Though Head Gone achieves a no­tion that Devon­tée has it all to­gether, de­spite its boast­ful hooks and morethan-con­fi­dent bars, clos­ing track “Over­think­ing” dives into his vul­ner­a­bil­ity, al­low­ing Devon­tée to take that mask off, re­veal­ing a hum­ble un­der­dog that Toronto has come to know over the years, but who is also fi­nally ready to find his way to the top. (In­de­pen­dent)

Lady even fur­ther. He ex­hibits per­fect chem­istry with his guest stars, and never com­pro­mises the in­tegrity of his over­all sound. Sharp, co­he­sive and HIP- HOP

What does Head Gone en­cap­su­late as a ti­tle?

Head Gone is the dif­fer­ent emo­tions that we go through. I feel like right now in the world there’s a lot of crazi­ness go­ing on — a lot of vi­o­lence, a lot of thought­less­ness. I feel like a lot of peo­ple are dis­tracted and their souls aren’t filled with pur­pose right now. Be­cause of that, I feel that there’s a lot of fear, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, anger and things like that. This [al­bum] is like a jour­ney, from my per­spec­tive over the last three years, feel­ing those emo­tions and what the world is feel­ing, and over­com­ing that through the per­spec­tive of a 25-year old Toronto man.

How would you de­scribe your re­la­tion­ship with Kar­di­nal Off­ishall?

Kardi has been awe­some — he’s brought me to a lot of places, in­tro­duced me to a lot of peo­ple and is al­ways there when­ever I need to call or text him to ask any ques­tions, mu­sic-re­lated or life-re­lated. He’s just a gen­uinely good guy who wants to see oth­ers suc­ceed.

re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent, Lady Lady is a peer­less ef­fort with ma­jor re­play value. (EQT Record­ings) FOLK

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