In this week’s instalment of What’s Going On, we’ve got a review of NNAMDÏ’s recent Toronto gig. The Chicago indie sensation played The Garrison and we’ve got the scoop on how it went down. Plus, the latest new releases from Ice Spice, Jamie Fine, Lyan Paris, and King Cruff. As always, if you dig what you hear, be sure to stream and follow the artists.
NNAMDÏ – “I wonder what a NNAMDÏ show would be like.” That was my first thought when I saw that Chicago singer and multi-instrumentalist NNAMDÏ would be playing in Toronto. During the pandemic, I fell in love with NNAMDÏ’s album, Brat. The eclectic mix of hip-hop, trap, rock and pop immediately had me hooked. His latest album Please Have A Seat felt like a furtherance of that sound but this time through a more electronic lens. The DIY artist can’t be confined to any one genre or box, which just fueled my curiosity even more. I was just as intrigued to see who would be at the show as I was to see how the material would translate to the stage.
Well, this past Tuesday night, NNAMDÏ rolled through Toronto. The rabid crowd mainly consisted of what appeared to be stoner college kids and alternative millennials/elder millennials who grew up on pop-punk and indie rock, which makes sense for a show at The Garrison. Joshua Virtue, one of the evening’s vibey openers, whipped the audience into a frenzy whenever he even said NNAMDÏ’s name.
Taking the stage shortly after 10 pm, it was clear right away that NNAMDÏ had the crowd in the palm of his hand. From the opener of “Anti” from the new record, I learned quickly just how loyal NNAMDÏ’s fanbase is, as everyone seemingly knew every word and was singing the lyrics back to him, despite the album having only dropped just a few weeks ago. The setlist for the night largely consisted of songs from Please Have A Seat, with “Touchdown”, “I Don’t Wanna Be Famous” and “ANXIOUS EATER” all being highlights of the night. “Dedication” served as the crowd participation number with NNAMDÏ giving call and response instructions. It felt refreshing that no one felt too cool for school and just went along with it.
Backed by a kickass band, NNAMDÏ effortlessly switched between singing, hyping up the crowd, and rapping. The Chicago native also strapped on a guitar for a few songs, flexing his multi-instrumentalist muscle. A skill that seems to elude the endlessly talented artist is stage diving, as he nearly wiped out while attempting to jump back on stage. The banter for the night extended beyond just the usual “Hello Toronto” and “Wow, it’s so good to be here in Toronto” that you’re likely to hear at shows, instead regaling the crowd with relatable anecdotes of anxiety and being ghosted. A particular gem happened when a concert goer screamed out “poutine”, leading NNAMDÏ to riff on Randy Newman being underrated and urging people to check out the legendary songwriter’s track “Putin” which skewers the titular Russian leader.
The Garrison crowd rocked, swayed and sang along with NNAMDÏ throughout his entire set. If the electric feel of this small but mighty venue is anything to go by, NNAMDÏ’s destined for superstardom, but as he sang tonight “I don’t really wanna be famous, I just want a million blue faces. I just want a million new fans and plays, then I wanna ride that massive wave.” It really felt like seeing an act on the precipice of something bigger, the type of show you’ll remember fondly and look back on when the artist moves on to winning Grammy Awards and selling out arena tours. My biggest takeaway from the night is that while NNAMDÏ may not wanna be famous, he’s definitely a star.
Ice Spice – The internet’s favorite new rapper Ice Spice is following up the success of her runaway hit “Munch (Feelin U),” with her single “Bikini Bottom.” Yes. As the song title implies, there is a SpongeBob SquarePants connection. Produced by RIOTUSA, the track not only shares a name with the undersea city where SpongeBob lives, but its melody is also reminiscent of the music that plays in the beloved cartoon. As with seemingly everything the 22-year-old sensation does, the online reaction to “Bikini Bottom” has been polarizing. That said, the music video has already racked up 1 million plus views in just over a day, so it doesn’t look like Ice Spice’s momentum is in danger of melting any time soon.
Listen to Ice Spice’s new single “Bikini Bottom” below.
Jamie Fine – There’s big news for Jamie Fine fans! The talented singer-songwriter has a new EP due out on November 4. The latest taste of what to expect from the project is the gorgeous track “Waiting.” Jamie has a knack for writing about love and relationships in a way that feels so real and relatable, and that’s definitely present on “Waiting”, as well as one of the best beat drop moments of the year. Talking about “Waiting”, Jamie Fine says: “‘Waiting’ is a song about a type of love nobody else understands. It’s about a relationship that isn’t common or traditional but that feels right in the moment. It was at a time where I didn’t want to have to explain why I was choosing to be in the relationship, I just wanted to indulge in it.”
Listen to Jamie Fine’s new single “Waiting” below.
Lyan Paris – Alternative hip-hop duo Lyan Paris wants you to have a “Good Day” with their new single. Luke Marshall and Ryan Goulding of Lyan (a portmanteau of their first names) caught the attention of listeners around the world with “Problems”, their debut label release. The Hamilton, Ontario duo is all about having fun and you can hear that all throughout “Good Day.” Talking about the single, Lyan states: “This track doesn’t take itself too seriously but is still something we can always vibe to whether driving in the car or with friends at a party. There’s a lot of good energy in this song and we hope that other people can feel that same energy.” A track like “Good Day” needs an equally upbeat wacky music video to accompany it and the Nick Jandorra-directed homage to Happy Gilmore absolutely nails it.
Listen to Lyan Paris’ new single “Good Day” below.
King Cruff – Universal Music Canada and Tuff Gong Collective have signed Canadian-Jamaican MC King Cruff, immediately heralding him as one to watch. Inspired just as much by reggae legends like Beres Hammond as he is by hip-hop luminaries such as Kendrick Lamar and André 3000, that blending of styles is apparent in everything he does. King Cruff is out now with the infectious single “Samurai Chop,” and despite its party feel, there’s definitely a message in the music. Discussing what his new single is all about, King Cruff says: “‘Samurai Chop’ is about the party lifestyle and how chatter and drama can bleed into it. The line that really influenced the song was ‘Words cut deep like a samurai chop’. My mom always said that words have power and I believe in that.”
Listen to King Cruff’s new single “Samurai Chop” below.