Junia-T | Eye See You | Saving Toronto’s Hip-Hop Scene from ITSELF.

“A brova too smoove
Old soul living in this new school…”
— Junia-T, “Too Smoove”, Eye See You (2014)

Except for a notable few like Kardinal Offishall, Maestro Fresh Wes, and of course, Drake, Toronto’s hip-hop scene has been trouble for a while. Despite its share of local hits getting heavy club rotation in the 90s and early-naughts (who can forget how deep we lived the riddim culture for a while?), it’s been steady underground for all these years.

You can tell a Toronto beat from a mile away — slightly unpolished, simple, sound like it’s a throwback from decades ago… we’re unable to keep up with the times, breeding a crop of rappers who just can’t make the grade.

Fortunately, that’s not true for everyone.

When last we crossed paths with Junia-T, he was readying for The We & We Free, one of the many live performances he’s given since stepping a toe in the game all those years ago.

Six months later, he’s here with a new album — Eye See You; an album that may very well restore some faith in what Toronto’s hip-hop scene has to offer!

Eye See You — wrapping 2014 up on a CLASSIC note.

2014’s been a bum year for hip-hop. I know everyone and their grandmother’s waiting for the new Kendrick to drop, and I’ll admit I haven’t yet given Run the Jewels 2 the proper listen it deserves, but everyone’s waiting for whatever comes next.

Though I had my reservations at first, Junia-T‘s latest Eye See You is a head-boppin’ album that grows on you with every listen.

Adding some diversity to his prolific past as a rapper in his Silver Fox, 3-5 Playa and Smash Brovaz circles, Junia‘s been working feverishly on his production skills, looking to prove that he can rock a mixer and turntable just as well as he does a mic!

The album starts with a three-hit combo of “Head Nod”, “Too Smoove” and “We Got This (All Day)”, all tracks perfect for working that neck like nobody’s watching when you’re doing the cross-town commute. “How Can I”, a soulful ode to a lost friend over a classic sample of Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy”, serves as the gateway from a display of Junia’s rapping development to date into the more exploratory waters of Junia the Producer, relying on the talents of others to complement the beats he’s constructed for them.

I guess I’m biased — while Junia’s production cuts with talents like Little Simz, pHoenix, LordQuest and Jessie Reyez are growing on me, it’s Junia the Rapper I’ve listened to for a decade now, but Junia the Producer is growing on me. Though I didn’t want to love some of the tracks at first, missing his signature staccato flow that often accompanies his beats, I had to respect what others brought to the table, and the more I listen to them, the more I appreciate how much Junia’s grown since we first met.

But my winner for this album is “The Day”, an anthem that comes in just shy of three minutes and is a perfect marriage of lyrical cadence and stellar beat. If you listen to this song and not love it, I think you’ve got some soul-searching to do, amigo — because you clearly don’t have one!

So check it out. Give Eye See You a listen and see whether you don’t finish the 15 tracks satisfied. And if you’re looking to support Junia in his next venture, you can always grab a high-quality copy of the album over at Bandcamp!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to listen to this album a few dozen more times.

Hope you like it as much as I do,

–case p.

Remember to support Junia-T by buying Eye See You over at Bandcamp, and if you want first dibs on everything else he’s up to, check his websiteInstagramTwitterFacebook and SoundCloud!

Or, if you want to know more of what I’m all about, check out my TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

By Casey E. Palmer

Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff.

When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him.

Because a boring life’s not a life worth living!

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