SonReal is a Vancouver based MC that’s coming off a Juno-Nominated commercial release titled “The Closers” with Toronto’s Rich Kidd. The veteran MC’s introspective style combined with a well-honed sense of timing and wordplay have allowed him to flourish in the Canadian rap scene since 2008. His latest mixtape “One Long Day” is most definitely an encapsulation of the rapper’s sound: weaving his personal ambition with rhymes that reflect on his journey as an artist. As he will begin touring in the US for the first time this year, it’s prudent to take a good look at his most recent work, the recently released “One Long Day”.

The mixtape begins with “Confession”, the Arthur Mcarthur produced track that starts off with a continuous piano playing in the back and as it drops, SonReal goes straight into the song with a clever set of self-aware rhymes for the whole 3 minutes. No need for a chorus on this one. The song sets the mood and creates an atmosphere that gets the listener deeper into his frame of mind.

Next is “S*it’s Epic” a Rich Kidd produced track that’s slightly more up tempo and as you get into the second song, there’s a sense that this is post-2013 music that knowingly or unknowingly channels Drake. The slight switch up of the flow helps the listener break the monotonous barrage of rhymes laid down by the rapper.

“Luck” has that electronic infused hip-hop sound to it. The song features electric guitar rocking out on the beat with SonReal riding the beat with a sing-a-long chorus that will serve him well at live shows. As the rapper goes on describing the world he is surrounded by, the slightly emotional but still uplifting track adds balance to the musical narrative.

On “Monday Night” The feel is still up tempo as the sound accompanies a rattling drum kit making it very listenable. If you don’t feel the flow, you will definitely pay attention to the beat which also features Canadian hip-hop legend Kardinal Offishall. Four songs deep into the tape SonReal makes it apparent that his ability to not just rap but switch up the flow with singing comes naturally to him.

“LA” is the rapper’s westcoast ode as he raps about how he hasn’t had a sober night welcoming you to his “new life”. Talking about his fans and his thinking that he’s going to blow up over night, it’s his best impression of what success sounds like to him. “Today & Tomorrow” is Rich Kidd’s second input on the production and is absolutely worth the listen as it features London, Ontario spitta Shad (an established MC in his own right). The electronic-infused style of production is a pleasing addition to the project’s sonic repertoire as SonReal’s style works well on this sort of beat.

The Burd & Keyz produced “Nothing Interlude” is a commentary on his relationship with women as he raps about how his forays into sexuality are “Just the train of thought when you’re searching for the one”.

From ‘Honor Roll’ to ‘Believe’ to ‘All’ (which has Toronto songstress Andreena Mill on the track) to ‘Let Me’ this is a very personal but balanced tape. Of course we are also talking about a ubiquitous post-Drizzy generation of rappers so we are bound to find a tinge of somewhat emotional yet lyrical flows. That is not to say that the two rappers sound the same. SonReal’s unique developed flow allow him to lay out his style of everyman up-and-down sort of rap rather successfully. If the artist can balance sing-along-anthems with his more aggressive, uptempo songs SonReal should have a hell of a time pleasing his existing fans in Canada but more importantly, allow him to crack a tough US market that’s been recently friendly to his style of rap.

-Haleema Khan

For those who have yet to listen to SonReal’s project ‘One Long Day’, stream it below:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/20103921″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]