The debut EP by OVO Sound’s newest signee, Roy Wood$, begins with Innocence, a song loaded with so much sex, drugs and aggression, it’s like mainlining the hormones swimming around in the brain of a teenage male.
Woods is a boyish-sounding 19-year-old singer/rapper from Brampton with a coarse, guttural grittiness in his voice that gives what at first seems like typical hip-hop braggadocio an undercurrent of visceral pain. Sure enough, subsequent songs Go Go Go and Unleashed more bluntly outline the ways drugs, sex and aggression are numbing responses to emotional voids or mistakes.
The music directly mirrors these voids with low-end production and slow, chasmic bass sounds that contrast with Woods’s angsty, slow-fast flow patterns. The intimate and reflective mood is very much in line with the so-called “Toronto sound” crystallized on Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. On Drama, he analyzes the psyche of older women who seem lost with a knowing world-weariness that’s a little too similar to his mentor’s M.O. to feel completely believable. Naturally, Drake makes a cameo.
Evolving beyond this well-worn style to play up Woods’s more unique qualities – e.g., his vocal range – is what will ulti-mately set him apart.
Top track: Unleashed