RLGT Up-Next: J-SOUL, The Sound Of Tomorrow

Toronto sounds like this right now. It might not sound like this tomorrow. 



You wanna know what’s cool to think about or talk about or rant about to your mom who just wants you to clean up your damn apartment because you’re an “adult” now? Influence. Influence is a cool thing that happens because unless you train yourself to recognize it -and often even if you’ve trained yourself to recognize it – you have no idea wherein and with whom it manifests. Case in point: J-Soul.

The idea of regional sounds are nowadays concurrently redundant, non-existent and crucial as far as classifying or breaking down classifications in rap goes.  Drake was at this forefront (which has kinda been done before, but not on the internet so most of us didn’t know about it), borrowing heavily from Houston Screw via Toronto in the same way A$AP Rocky borrowed heavily from Houston Screw via New York. Everything sounds like it’s coming from Atlanta strip clubs, and everyone’s dressing like their from Tottenham. A guy from Chicago made it OK to wear skinny pants and now guys from Minot, North Dakota wear #coolpants. Etc. etc. J-Soul, for his part, is repping T.Dot blatantly, Patterson indirectly, the Caribbean by extension, and Atlanta because why the fuck not?

J-Soul is from Toronto, which is where Drake and 40 and Boi-1da are from and, coincidentally, where Drake and 40 and Boi-1da’s signature sound is from. Above is his seven-track EP November Twelve that came out a few months ago. Now, J-Soul has clearly been tickled pink or a swirling shade of greyish navy by the nocturnal outpourings of the 6’s most profitable exports, but there’s a few other ingredients lurking in there. Along with his dabbling in dancehall and patois à la recent Drizzy output, a few tidbits of influence from below the border can been sorted through. Though not on the same level, J-Soul has a tendency to strain his vocals and ad-libs not unlike Young Thug, and instances pop up where his elongated wail resembles Fetty Wap, New Jerseys mono-spectacled sunshine boy. Listen to when he croons a similarly exuberant “Yeeeeaaaaaaah!” All he’s missing is a trap queen or a Monty.

Our identity as Canadians has always and will always be orbit around maple syrup, politeness, free healthcare and being the country everyone wants to be a part of because of how nice our doctors and nurses are when delivering treatment for excess syrup consumption on the house. I assume in the near future the music gushing out of The Great White-Gold North will enter those hallowed ranks sooner than later. I mean, the second biggest rapper in the world is throwing up billboards of his hometown as promotion for his upcoming album and we’re like what? fifteen years removed from the Bare Naked Ladies at their peak? The fields looking fruitful and J-Soul could have next; he’s talented and and adventuresome enough. A larger point, however, is that Canada’s on the come up and an upcoming star will likely sound like what we think he or she will sound like mixed with a bunch of crazy ass shit we never would have thought he or she could sound like. We’ve been dubbed a “cultural melting pot” in many a brochure, but Toronto’s music scene may be the best example. Shouts out BNL.

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