Times Neue Roman Talking Sporty

The thing with digitized electro rap ― a trend that's still too shiny and new to be over already ― is its beat-focused, low synergy approach. That is: it begs a flow and savvy that many rap-reared rappers don't possess. This is not the case for Times Neue Roman, a bicoastal Canadian duo made up of poet Arowbe Arowbe Arowbe (Robert Bolton) and beatsmith Alexander The, who wield their Kensington Market-honed synth-hop on six-track LP Talking Sporty. Influences range from funk ("Roq Roq") to reggae ("Hands No Hands") to samba ("Music and Math"), and The skilfully melds these classic rhythms and patterns with grating, semi-dub-y bass and shimmering effects to sublime effect; it's a perfect backdrop for Arowbe's husky-voiced, poet-status city stories. To say this is "hipster hip-hop" would be dismissing Times Neue Roman's ability to transcend a trend. Instead, Talking Sporty is what new rap can do when it tries. (YYZ)