Slava P was into Terrence Ross before it was cool.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but being from Toronto is finally cool again! For the first time since the early aughts, the city can take pride in its Grammy winners and athletic dunk contest representatives as well as the “underground” talent that’s scattered throughout the metropolis. And although Terrence Ross is certainly no Vince Carter and Drake is far from Alanis Morissette (depending on who you ask), the rappers that haven’t yet caught fire on a national stage are some of the best in recent memory.

Take The Airplane Boys: the North’s answer to the machine-gun lyricism of Beastcoasters The Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies, albeit with more stylistic flair. The only thing that separates Beck Motley from Bon Voyage (yes, those are their rap names) is Beck’s slightly more adenoidal and melodic delivery compared to Bon’s near-sneer-and-growl, an observation that instantly makes sense when you see the two of them standing side-by-side. This dynamic duo has been active for the last two years, putting out critically acclaimed mixtapes and preforming at music festivals all over North America and Asia, including a headlining show in their home city that saw their fans literally break the stands by jumping on them too hard.

Their first release, Where’ve You Been, was produced mainly by Illangelo and sampled everyone from Radiohead to White Stripes in the hopes of casting a large net and getting as many faces to un-screw in the city as possible. Their second offering, Alignment, took on a more pop feel with a dark undertone as they cultivated their image until it closely resembled what they’ve become now: ArtHaus Rap.

Their newest project, Brave New World breaks down their journey thus far and reveals both thematic and artistic growth. Their bars are overloaded with so many cultural references that you may lose sight of the big picture by focusing too much on the punchlines. For example, on “TIDES” a rap about the internal struggles of a beautiful female is almost overshadowed by a reference to an R&B one-hit wonder:

She baptized in Chanel
You smelling good, you well and good
but you crying inside they can’t tell
keep going to war with yourself
Thoughts as Blu as Cantrell
do you remember her, will they remember you
for the things you slave to, please be more brave boo
invite the cravings that make them hate you

This tongue-in-cheek songwriting is stamped all over the tape and since it’s the third such offering, it’s becoming obvious that they have no intentions of slowing down. This is a duo that’s been wearing leather pants way before All Star Weekend and if they’re lyrics are to be believed, are receiving letters from Kanye West. In fact, there’s a chance you may have heard an Airplane Boys song without knowing it: they’ve partnered with both Levis and Adidas in order to make these brands seem more “alt”. So get familiar with the hottest export coming out of Toronto before they become popular and the city turns its back on them!

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