The release of 88GLAM's self-titled project confirms that Toronto has officially become the epicentre of hazy trap rap. The 13-track album from the XO-affiliated duo of Derek Wise and Drew Howard (aka 88Camino) is delightfully drenched in shadowy trap beats and riddled with lyrics straight from a diary of the city's underworld.
Those who pressed play on Derek Wise's January release Inglorious would instinctively know how much that project informs 88GLAM. Wise's ambient and molasses-like delivery still drives the project's tempo, while 88Camino manages to add pitch and bounce to the haunting sonics.
Album opener "12" is the most infectiously catchy, thanks to Alexonweed's production and 88Camino's eerily bizarre quotables: "Santa Claus don't trust no elves / Fuck you mean I barely trust myself." The anticipated single that will likely get nightclub rotation is the NAV-assisted "Bali," if only because of its energy and upbeat rhythm. If the other dozen tracks on 88GLAM are a Xanax-induced midnight ride around the city, then "Bali" is the upper that momentarily brings you back to your senses.
Once you hit the halfway mark, things tend to get fairly redundant; there are only so many ways Derek and Camino can rap about drugs, women and their broke-to-balling narrative. Had the project been cut in half, it might have been a better front-to-back listen.
Regardless, the project is best enjoyed for what it is: a satisfying, distorted trap-a-thon with plenty of hearty beats and boastful bravado. (Independent)