REVIEW: 'Can't Come With Me This Time' by Sean Leon

 Photo by Luis Mora

Photo by Luis Mora

Earlier this year we headed down to the Royal Cinema on College St to take in Sean Leon's audio visual experience 'Life When You're The Movie'We followed his Nike Blazers through the streets of Parkdale and Ajax, saw the places he came from and caught glimpses of where he was going. His latest project 'Can't Come With Me This Time' is reflection on what's led Sean to this point and sends a message to the demons that have followed him along the way. They can't follow where he's going this time.

CCWMTT is described as an audio-film and as in most great films the story begins with an ending. Leon reflects on his on demise and instructs his tombstone reads he tried, this interlude will be visited again later on in the album. Mortality is a subject not foreign to Sean's lyrics and was featured prominently in his last project 'I Think You've Gone Mad',(we wrote about it when the album dropped and you should read it). CCWMTT shifts it into high gear on the Eestbound produced 'Turf'. Sean and Eestbound have connected in the past on tracks like 'Sidelines' and 'Charge it to the WAV' which were fucking heaters, Turf follows suit and bangs hard. 

'Gold' seems like the sequel to 'Favourite Rapper' off ITYGM where Sean sent a flurry of shots at Jazz Cartier. He continues the trend on Gold with not so subtle double entendres aimed at LeFleur. We can also add LeSean Flames to Maui's running list of pseudonyms. Previously released 'Vintage' keeps the vibes going. This track premiered in Sean’s trailer for LIFE WHEN YOU’RE THE MOVIE in January 2017, helping to stoke anticipation around his upcoming project for months. Finally on September 24, 2017 he released the song as a supposed lead single for I Can See a Blue Sky from Here which ended up being CCWMTT. Bijan Amir who produced the track with Eestbound is one of the most talented beat makers creating in Toronto. He's starting to get real recognition and worked with 21 Savage, PARTYNEXTDOOR in addition to Sean Leon in the past year. His many producer credits on this project really speak to Sean's ability to work with the most innovative Canadian producers creating in 2017.

'The Rat Race' currently stands as my favourite on CCWMTT. Not much to say about it, I just really vibe with the production and sentiment behind the track. Next is the sobering 'King St.W' that touches on a scenario my broke ass has been in way too many times. 'How do we connect?/ If I ain't pay my phone bill in some time'/. This tune especially hits home because I had to answer all my messages at the Starbucks at King and Dufferin for two weeks after maxing out my data last January... 

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Sean starts cookin like Harden on the next tune produced by Jack Rochon and Bijan Amir. This one reflects on Sean's year which was mostly spent inside his home studio in Parkdale. It segways nicely into the second interlude 'Before I Leave I Tried'.  The poem from the beginning of the project is repeated but this time it's followed by that annoying iPhone alarm. As someone who regularly gets bad sleeps, I fucking hate that sound. 

'2017' follows and is really where the heart of this album lies. The track is a ballad on the disjointed relationships that exist in 2017's ever connected world. The vulnerability on this one is duly noted and once again demonstrates his musical range. The project closes out with the 11 minute long epic '25 & Whyln'. This record features five distinct sections with clips from 'Steve Harvey / Family Feud' and “Hollywood Tarantino Flow”. Bijan Amir even jumps on the track to jokingly hint that Leon’s next project 'King and Sufferin' is on the way. He wow'd you once, he just wow'd you again/ Will he wow you a third time? (hehehe)/ I guess you're gonna have to find out next time. 

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With CCWMTT Sean Leon has created a project that simultaneously lives in alternate points in history. His past, present and future collide as Leon reflects on the sacrifices he's made to take his art this far, but actively acknowledges this is just the beginning. IXXI is taking off, adding new talent to the roster while producing some of the best independent music out of the 416/905 this year. He can only go up from here and while we may not be able to come with him this time; I take comfort in the fact that we'll be able to at least listen to the sonic journey.

Listen to Can't Come With Me This Time on your preferred streaming service.