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culture

Sound Advice: Stranger Things Have Happened, by Shi Wisdom

The Toronto artist's latest EP is a delicious, moody slice of R&B that you might have overlooked.

Shi Wisdom

If you didn’t check out Shi Wisdom’s latest when it first dropped a few months back, now is the time to get caught up. When it comes to R&B music, Toronto artists have been doing some interesting things—playing around with the genre and stretching its boundaries—and Stranger Things Have Happened continues in that vein.

Renee “Shi” Wisdom—long a fixture in the underground scene, having worked with Drake and Kardinal Offishall—partners with artist-producer Keita “KJ” Juma here to deliver some eclectic R&B vibes. Musical talent runs in her family, it seems—the Jamaica to Toronto: Soul, Funk & Reggae 1967–1974 compilation project released a while back features the ’60s reggae soul duo Bob and Wisdom, of which singer Jimmy Wisdom happens to be her grandfather.

As a talented singer, songwriter, and producer, Shi Wisdom delivers with a seven-track project that is as explorative as it is grounded. She brings to the table polished vocals and lyricism, along with a measured sensibility. Tracks of note include “No Sight Required,” “The Key,” and “Yacht”—but if there’s one track you need to hear, it’s “Young Gunner,” with its stark lyrical depiction of youth caught up in the dark side of street life. Wisdom even works in a reference to local TV news station CP24: “Look at your face all on the news / Young gunner / You ain’t safe no more.”

All in all, Stranger Things Have Happened offers a brief yet intriguing listen to a Toronto artist who appears to have the best years of her career ahead of her.

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