Published Jun 22, 2009Tona writes like an MC, performs like a rap star and has a cadence like rhyming is what he was born to do. Combined with producer Lyve, Direct Deposit bangs hard and has a timeless essence surrounding it. The album starts with a "welcome to Toronto" intro, hinting that the CD is a trip into the Canadian hip-hop scene. Featuring an array of some of Toronto's most talented lyricists - Saukrates, JD Era, Richie Sosa - Lyve nails the variety of artists with a boom-bap feel that doesn't sound dated. The highlight of the album is the no-holds-barred approach to both the production and lyricism. Lyve has an aggressive touch to his craft that emphasizes Tona's rugged voice - single "Major" is an example of this, as many MCs would have gotten lost on such a melodic instrumental. "See Me In Ya City" is an infectious track that has an anthem feel; "Fast Pace" has a golden-era hip-hop element; and "Mynd Made Up" is extremely catchy. "The Departure," the outro, is where Tona really speaks his mind. That track alone is worth purchasing Direct Deposit, because it's refreshing to hear an honest take on the state of music. The danger with most producer/artist duos is the risk of repetition - this doesn't occur with Tona and Lyve. Direct Deposit was obviously put together with an understanding of what's needed today to make a great hip-hop record and for that, it is easily one of the best albums to come out of Canada this decade.
You're extremely honest on Direct Deposit regarding your thoughts on the state of music and the industry. What was your motive behind this record and how did you want it to be perceived?
Tona: I wanted to show that we can make a versatile hip-hop record with balance. How come no one is talking about the real grind with the nine-to-five? The way you hear records these days it's like there is a loss of reality. Our record is naturally very honest, which I think is missing in music today. We didn't choose the typical mainstream path, which we could have, but the album still comes out hard.
Your production has a very golden-era feel. Were these tracks inspired by concepts you and Tona created?
Lyve: Tona and I have been working together for a long time and we have a similar vision. We wanted to get into the essentials of older hip-hop - samples and drum machines - [while] at the same time remaining relevant. Most of the tracks were inspired by our studio sessions, others were just creating music I love. I have an archive of beats and if they weren't used for this project, there are many more projects to come.
What's your favourite track on the album?
Tona: "The Departure," which is the outro. Not only is the beat ridiculous but it's where I really speak what's on my mind. (Da District/E1)