Something like an audio journal, Marlon Souler’s “Year” sounds off like a witty, hip hop companion piece to anything PBR&B master-mind The Weeknd would have his hands in. Although not a T.O. boy like the darkly dreaming Abel Tesfaye, Souler’s sombre words in “Year” make it only right to think of Souler as The Weeknd’s Mississauga born incarnation—a title that should be respected, not lauded.
No chorus and all verse, “Year” hears Souler touching upon his own torrid, airy visions of “livin’ in another dimension where women run at me with their chest up,” while impressively flexing his lyrical muscle over this mellow beat.
In the days where rappers’ bragging about their speed of their trigger finger reflexes or the incredible amount of money they’ve made selling drugs have been speedily replaced by MC’s unafraid to chronicle the intimate details of late night, coke fuelled trysts—Souler’s “Year” carries an anthem-like ring to it. What we could be listening to could get brushed off as one of Toronto’s cheap Drake imitations because of its more or less ambient beat, but being no particular fan of Drizzy myself, I was happy to hear Souler’s lyrical prowess push “Year” many notches above just being a song about a guy telling a girl “why she da fuckin’ best.”
But don’t let the sentimentalism in “Year” fool you: Souler’s lyrics still manage to pack an edgy punch that dares any competitor to test his fist-wrapped mic. “I don’t get it/ you diss my style and then you take it….but let me throw that topic in the basement/ cause instead of dissing me you should be scared of your replacement,” says Souler, who makes it very clear that as despondent as “Year” might come off, he isn’t Ian Curtis and will not hesitate to call a fool out.
Be it repeated viewings of Pleasantville or just a love for the sleek, demure look of black & white, everything about Souler’s down trodden, contemplative world is monochrome– certainly a cool effect for songs like “No Good”.
“Year” is on some introspective shit and Souler carries out the melancholy, joint-for-the-hangover flow that embodies most of the XO sound—but his distinctly hip hop take on this fluid music is inventive and I’m looking forward to seeing more visuals and hopefully a full length effort for Mr. Souler’s sedating sounds. With all this comparison to the Weeknd, it’s not surprising that Souler already hooked up with the Torontonian wundekind to make “RNMXO”, which you can hear below.