Seth Dyer – IX [Review]
Toronto, ON – On Aug. 6, Toronto-based rapper Seth Dyer released his first EP entitled IX. This six-track project introduces us to the up-and-coming rap cat that is Seth, as well as his monstrous producer-engineer, Average (who – for the record – is way above Average. You rap cats need to check these beats). The first thing that struck me about Dyer was his musical resemblance to the Drizzyness that is Drizzy Drake. Seth makes hits. And he doesn’t just make hits with replay value, either. He makes hits that slap you with an overwhelming dose of feelings.
The entire project was recorded in a solitary Toronto basement studio. And it’s got that vibe going for it. You know, the whole I’m-surrounded-by-people-yet-still-so-alone vibe. Very Drakey. He fuses one-part smooth tuneage with one-part feelings, adds a bit of turnt up hunger, tops it off with a killer flow and and it all comes together into this 27-minute care package that is IX. I don’t know why so many cats are still hitting me with debut 73-track mixtapes. Aint nobody got time for those. EPs like this are where it is at.
The first track – “Ride Or Die” (featuring Juvon Taylor on the hook) – highlights Seth’s lyrical raps. It’s that Drake thing I was talking about earlier. Drizzy can blur the line between singing and rapping. Seth does that, too. And it’s some smooth-ass ish.
“While I’m Young” is Seth’s own bravado anthem: “I’m cold like the ice age/ Make these rappers be extinct.” It’s not a full-blown banger, by any means. But it’s hungry. Seth’s a fresh face in the rap game. So he’s got those fresh-faced visions of greatness – visions of greatness that are comprised of large wads of cash and excessive adoring fame.
The EP’s title track, “IX” takes the hunger-factor to the next level. It doesn’t go on about the pipe dreams of success that happened in “While I’m Young.” Instead, Seth hits us with a very honest look at his struggles to make it in the rap game. The production on this track combines the forces of Average, Biird and Lahghost. So it’s a monster beat. The track begins with this anecdote about Seth working at the age of 15 and saving up his paycheques – which he still does, to this date – so that he can support his rapping. He later muses about how it’ll cost people a couple of their own hard-earned paycheques to get at him when he’s made it big. Then he speeds up his flow on us, and goes all-in. It mellows out for the last minute as Seth delivers some spoken word. It runs deep: “I was once a drop of rain/ I was an individual amongst millions/ Now I sit in this puddle with my peers and no one can tell us apart.”
“Real” (featuring Tye Craig on the hook) takes you into a very dark place. You’ll feel things. Seth delivers a grim look at the darker side of the rap game: struggling to remember your day-one homies, messing up your priorities, and turning to drugs and alcohol to feel love. And what it all comes down to is that you have to stay “Real” or you will inevitably end up severely screwing over your rap career.
“Why Would I” is solid obnoxious rap: “Why would I want to be you?/The shit I do/ It don’t come free.” This song was necessary. A lot of guys in Toronto really do want to be Drake. And as I started listening to the project, I was worried that Seth was one of those dudes. But I was wrong. Seth just wants to be Seth Dyer. Cue: sigh of relief.
The project closes with my favourite IX track: “Blink” (featuring Kelsey Vaz on the hook). Seth comes in on this soulful smooth Average-produced beat. It’s jazzy. It’s got keys. And it’s all hopeful feel-good vibes. The Cliff Notes version: don’t blink, or you might miss it.
So now that you know what this project is all about, you should probably go give it a listen. And keep a look out for Seth’s debut LP entitled Actaeon. It’ll be coming at you in 2015.