Words by Ian Charles
Toronto, Canada and Rochester, N.Y. are two notable areas generating ill Hip Hop music. Their borders have no stronghold on what they magnificently create when the cities unite. Toronto Emcee, Asun Eastwood (TOMA/Gold Era), Toronto Producer, Sibbs Roc (Gold Era) and Rochester, N.Y. Emcee, M.A.V. aka Maverick Montana (Da Cloth) are distant in miles, yet close in the collective musical taste on their new album 98 Miles. Although members of Rochester’s Da Cloth and their T-Dot border family have worked together in the past, this trio has their hands fresh in a newly formed brotherhood for an entire project.
Asun’s catalogue continues to increase and impress listeners from his solo albums Nimbus, Hollywood Briggs to his collaborations with Toronto cohorts, Futurewave and Daniel Son on Physics of Filth and Bite The Bullet. Then on to 2020 with Sewer Science (Produced by Vago), Let Me Talk My Shit (Produced by Wizdome Bunitall) and 2021’s Prophecy Is My Present with Philly’s The Twinning (Reker aka DJ R3K3R and Padae). M.A.V. brings Rochester’s reality to the world by way of 2018’s ABRACADABRA (Produced by FINN (Gold Era), Dust 2 Dust (Produced by Cotola), Hoodlum (Produced by Giallo Point) and the three part Angelz and Demonz series with Hobgoblin spanning from 2019 to 2021. Sibbs Roc of Gold Era has been a mainstay in the Ontario music scene, letting loose on his 2019 Master The Craft instrumental album, and his previous album Stand Firm, which also showcases his lyrical abilities. Fans heard more from Sibbs Roc’s production arsenal as he continued with Family Gang Black’s Ventilation album. 98 Miles is further proof of those harnessed skills.
“Flu Season” puts us in the driver’s seat to start off the journey with a rolling piano loop and an Alfred Hitchcock feel, courtesy of Sibbs Roc. M.A.V. and Asun deliver audio sickness an infirmary couldn’t contain. The Toronto/Rochester tandem express wisdom through life’s positive and negative alongside East Baltimore’s Jay Royale on “Tug of War”. Shifting gears, fellow Toronto comrade Daniel Son drops by on “Table Talk” while “50_50” brings Saipher Soze and Corden Barrett (Saxophone) in on the road trip, kicking their verbal assault.
“Don’t need a cut or a barber to fadeaway that’s why I smile when Nick post my song, his playlist play…” states Asun Eastwood with his appreciation to the stalwart Hiphop superfan on “What’s Rap, What’s Real.” M.A.V. is making it known that this is not a game, telling ya’ll: “…don’t let an Instagram post be your last day.”
Sibbs Roc came to show off his production talents in flipping a Sauvage Planet aka Fantastic Planet sample unlike any other on “Simple Diligence” as M.A.V. and Eastwood express the importance of their families.
When M.A.V. says: “…bring the water to a boil we ain’t letting up 300 miles one way cause we ain’t get enough…set it off in D.C. with three Vivica’s.” M.A.V. let’s you know the final track “”L’s & W’s” is just as ill as when 98 Miles first put the pedal to the metal. Sibbs Roc let his thumping cinematic sound go full throttle here. Asun talks his shit on the hook and second/final verse, “It’s no time for your race, can erase or pace us, every angle got covered ain’t no space to face us, my ace hands heavy we remake and shaved us, Macy Gray space fiends you relate don’t say much…”
The three combine their street knowledge, life experience, production and lyrical talents on 98 Miles with an unconditional bond that not many artists can achieve outside of the music with the same collaborators. This like-minded connection is the unity we hear throughout the album. Like true brothers far away from each other, small talk narrows the gap when being in person is not advisable. Wisdom doesn’t come on a silver platter. Not only are Asun and M.A.V. providing jewels in terms of seeing the light in the dark, but they also tell us to choose the direction in your life wisely. Only true men can be honest with one another initiating the respect. 98 Miles is just numbers and traveling. The three reppin’ Toronto, Scarborough and Rochester prove that music and brotherhood are the defining connected foundation. Pack your gear for the ten track excursion.
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