The third album from up-and-coming Toronto rapper Akintoye provides a wide variety of songs that rap fans and non-rap fans alike can enjoy.
Released Sept. 2, Anxiety and Circumstance is the third album from Toronto rapper Akintoye. Akintoye has been garnering attention since April 2020 when one of his freestyle raps went viral on TikTok. He now has 2.5 million followers on TikTok and over 475,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Anxiety and Circumstance maintains the bombastic, in-your-face energy that Akintoye employs in his social media posts. You can practically hear the grin on his face during the upbeat songs. Despite the album title, each line is delivered with a feeling of righteous confidence, daring listeners not to jam with him.
The instrumentals are incredibly varied: from the mellow piano on “Who Up,” to the funky bass-trumpet combo on “Woosah,” to the harmonic choir on “Glory,” there’s a wide selection of sounds on this album. Yet none of the songs feel at odds with one another; the mood changes just little enough from song to song that, when listening to the album in order, the changes aren’t jarring.
One of the standout tracks off the album is “Bad Day Ballad,” where Akintoye raps about finding the strength to keep your composure amongst a string of bad days, so that you can sing your bad day ballad. The song fully uses Akintoye’s positive energy to convince the listener that it’s worth pushing on, even if it’s simply to express how bad it’s been lately.
Currently, the most popular song off the album is “The Line.” It depicts Akintoye as a boundary breaker; he was nobody until he “took a couple shots at the truth,” and now he’s making producers spit out their wine with the stuff he includes in his songs. The idea of him being this controversial, mould-breaking figure is emphasized by the lone trumpet playing throughout the song, reminiscent of the trumpets used in Western movies to signify the approach of a lone ranger. However, the songs on this album don’t quite live up to this premise; nothing he raps about is that out of line. This might just be me struggling to hear the rapid-fire lyrics properly (the official lyrics have yet to be made public), but from what I could understand I didn’t find anything controversial on this album.
This album covers a wide array of tones and emotions, meaning there’s something that will resonate with any listener. Despite this, the album feels like one piece, and not the jumbled grab-bag that such variety would typically entail.
Listeners who are not as interested in rap will surely be drawn into the talent on display. Anxiety and Circumstance meets and surpasses the expectations Akintoye’s other work had previously set.