It seems like every Toronto hip-hop artist wants to be “The Next Drake,” and while Times Neue Roman probably wouldn’t say no to that level of success, their brand of challenging, esoteric hip-hop falls well off the beaten path of Top 40. “Curated Friends” shows a entirely new side to the city’s hip-hop community, one that’s more emblematic of the city itself: full of disparate origins and marked with a progressive streak. Samba turns into dubstep turns into turntablism, with flows that are dense, fiercely intelligent and unhurried, like a more measured Aesop Rock. But it’s also one hell of a classic hip-hop banger, with a strange alien energy that forces you to put your hands in the air, you’re just not sure where or how.
“Curated Friends” is taken from the band’s upcoming LP on Daps Records/Honest Music, out in September.