Toronto rapper Boland grinds toward greatness and is Your New Favourite Thing
What’s the deal?
Yes, the verity of the “10,000-hour rule” remains an object of debate nearly 10 years on from the concept’s popularization in Malcolm Gladwell’s much-cited Outliers, but common sense dictates that if you’re good at something to begin with and you’re willing to put in the work — say, 10,000 hours’ worth of work — to conscientiously keep getting better and better and better at doing that thing you were already doing pretty well, eventually the results should start to speak for themselves.
Such is the approach Toronto rapper Boland appears to be taking to his craft. The east-end MC — whose prodigious microphone talents, in the spirit of full disclosure, were first brought to Your New Favourite Thing’s (initially suspicious) attention several years ago by his mother, a Canadian filmmaker of some note and also a friend of the author’s — was kinda biding his time and getting it right on the run-up to the release last spring of his debut LP, Shades. Since then he’s barrelled forth with the prolific conviction of a young man convinced he has greatness in his sights and well within his reach. In mid-August, he issued the track “No Days Off” as the kickoff to a 13-week “one-single-a-week” project of the same name and he’s only gathered steam (and streams) since.
Over the course of the online series, which concluded recently earlier this month with the ruminative “Smokin’ Gun,” Boland has displayed both a breathlessly brainy rhyming style that mixes bravado and autobiographical vulnerability in equal measure and impressive taste in production (usually supplied by right-hand man NAWMS) that nestles somewhere between crusty ’90s moodiness of the Nas/Mobb Deep/RZA variety and the gauzy headspaces of present-day Toronto hip hop and R&B. If the purpose of the whole No Days Off endeavour was to stoke the fires of anticipation for what comes next, the job is done. Here’s hoping the floodgates stay open.
Sum up what you do in a few simple sentences.
“Work. I work really, really hard. I pride myself on having unparalleled work ethic and drive. No Days Off, my weekly series, thematically touches on that,” says Boland. “As far as concepts are concerned, I’d like to believe that I touch a wide range of subjects and themes in my music. For week five of No Days Off, I actually released a five-part song titled “Pentagon” which covers the width of my artistic influences. Five-sided shape, five-sided Boland. I speak on a lot of spiritual matters, for sure, but I also like rap for rap’s sake; at the end of the day, rap is a lot like sport and I treat it as such. I’m playing this game to win.”
What’s a song I need to hear right now?
“Stratosphere.” If you can keep up with D-Sisive on the mike you should be able to keep up with pretty much anyone.
Where can I see him play?
At Hard Luck on Saturday, Dec. 9, with Myer Clarity, Krosst Out and Troy Junker.