With Man Like Me, Toronto-based hip-hop artist Lan’do has no problem differentiating himself from his work as a member of collective No Tourists.
It can be hard to step out of the long shadow of expectation when you venture out from your musical group as a solo artist. These expectations are frequently more of the self-imposed variety rather than coming from audiences and fans. And yet, from the start of his debut solo EP, Man Like Me, Toronto-based hip-hop artist Lan’do has no problem differentiating himself from his group work with the eclectic collective, No Tourists.
Man Like Me is a genuine, highly personal collection of reflections on Lan’do’s teen years in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood. Musically, he’s reaching far beyond hometown borders, bringing elements of dancehall, grime, R&B, and the sounds of Jamaica, where he was raised. Early single “16 Bit” boasts Lan’do’s biting stream-of-conscious flow over blunt beats that don’t feel tethered to any particular style. Listening to opener, “Dweet Fi Dem,” reminds me of the first time I heard “Overcome” from Tricky’s Maxinquaye, another artist who stepped away from a band to make music on his own terms. Over ominous chord progressions and a skittering beat, “Formula” (featuring Deelo Avery) is anything but formulaic. Closer “First Contact” (featuring Kafayé) shows off the ease with which Lan’do moves from rapping to singing as well as his instinctual experimental style.
Even though he’s circling similar grooves and styles as his work with No Tourists, there’s an intangible and individual quality — an attitude — to Lan’do’s Man Like Me EP that suggests whatever self-imposed expectations he’s set for himself have been exceeded tenfold.
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