Tona Carpe Diem
Published Jan 30, 2015Inspired and emboldened by playing a key role in a pair of recent group projects — as one of the Freedom Writers on 2013's Polaris Music Prize-long-listed Now; and 2014's brilliant self-titled Naturally Born Strangers mixtape with Adam Bomb and Rich Kidd — Tona's return to solo endeavours is his best yet. Smarter and more introspective than ever, the Scarborough emcee's follow-up to the under-promoted Silverspring Crescent bubbles with the maturity of a rapper who's lived through some things and no longer must bite his tongue or prove he's got punch lines. Tona raids Rich Kidd's stash for all but two beats here, and it's the variety of his friend's selections that highlight Tona's growth and versatility as a writer.
Secure with his place in the game, Tona calls out unnamed T.O. vets in "Luv It" ("Of all the things I wish I coulda took back/ Your hand, I'm wishin' I shouldn't have shook that") and calls for a moratorium on two-facedness on the searing "Unmeasured Lies." The MC says he has come to terms that he'll likely never crossover to radio success, yet ironically the Paperboy Fabe-helmed "This Town" — an overdue Scarborough anthem built around a sped-up sample of Wildlife's "Lightning Tent" — could blow up given a push. And "Fairy Tale Divorce" is built to be direct-messaged to your ex. Long have we known of Tona's gift to spit, but his abilities as a fully formed songwriter have never been seized like this. (eOne)