The early part of 2015 has brought good things to Scarborough, Ontario’s own Tona Tencreddi.

Not only has the emcee taken home this year’s Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year as part of the Naturally Born Strangers trio, but the year’s first quarter has also seen the rapper put out a solo project, titled Carpe Diem. With his recent success, the name of the project is no mistake. Tona is here, and he isn’t wasting time.

The 13 track album (14 with the bonus track) has Tona touching on quite a few topics tying into the theme of “seizing the day”—which is after all what “carpe diem” means when translated from Latin to English.

The lesson here is to appreciate things while you’ve got them. The day needs to be maximized to its fullest, and Tona stresses this.

Fuelled by a hunger like few others, Tona aspires to give listeners an illustration of his day-to-day life, telling stories of where he’s from, the people he’s encountered, and the experiences he’s gone through on the way to getting where he is today.

The standout track “Life Away” is a suitable example of a cut that embodies the aforementioned characteristics, as the Scarborough native digs into his relationship with his mother, along with other people he’s grown close to — all over smooth production courtesy of Rich Kidd. The lesson here is to appreciate things while you’ve got them. The day needs to be maximized to its fullest, and Tona stresses this.

Other moments on the project see the hip-hop veteran showcasing energy with witty wordplay and confident delivery that separates him from the rest. Look no further than the tracks “Luv It” and “Me Music” as proof.

On “Luv It”, the emcee spits some hard-hitting punchlines that will surely have listeners making surprised faces when they key into the lyrics. For instance, he raps: “Is he the truth when he rhyme? / You ain’t gotta ask, you can see the truth in these lines without a polygraph.” Let that one sit for a second.

“Me Music” serves as one of the grittiest records on the album, providing a look into Tona’s mind as he absolutely blacks out over a grimy, boisterous Rich Kidd produced beat. As if these tracks aren’t enough, Tona brings his Naturally Born Strangers counterparts (Adam Bomb & Rich Kidd) into the mix as they provide solid contributions to the project’s closing tracks.

Adam Bomb assists with verses on “Long Winded Road”, while Rich Kidd makes a guest appearance on “Trill Shot”, not to mention produces nearly the entire project.

Overall, with some polished production, its fair share of realism and some lively moments, Carpe Diem is a solid listen. There are some sombre cuts, but that doesn’t change the fact that Tona is being as real as he can on the mic — and that deserves praise.


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