Toronto MC's laid-back, introspective album deserves your attention.
Toronto’s King Reign has a distinct vocal timbre that’s made him an underrated standout in the Canadian hip-hop scene. He’s far from a new face—he had ties with now defunct Toronto collective Brassmunk and has produced countless well–received singles and EPs—but for some reason he’s been regularly overlooked. His new album, Sincere, aims to change all that.
To say that King Reign’s cadence and delivery, coupled with his impressive visual storytelling skills, will get heads nodding is an understatement. The dude with the effortlessly chilled-out flow and poetic lyrics comes on strong here with introspective tracks like “Oh No” (produced by Toronto’s Rich Kidd), which delves into the shared challenges faced by many black males in this city; “Pretty Girl Lost,” which tackles the issue of bullying; “Chemical Romance,” about the perils of drug dependence; and slow burners like “Promo,” which speaks to the unique (i.e. bleak) challenges faced by artists trying to make it in the Canadian rap industry.
This is a socially conscious record, but one that doesn’t need any superfluous “conscious rap” tag. King Reign is just laid-back, relaying his observations and reflections over solid production and beats (provided by noteworthy underground names like Agile, Gameboy, and Darp Malone).
It might be a bit too laid-back for some—but for those who prefer more levels and soul-searching in their hip-hop, Sincere represents a strong solo effort from a strong solo artist deserving of your attention.