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Portion - I Am Nothing Without

Ontario: Top 10 of 2021

by Daniel McIntosh

When Portion first came onto the scene in 2017 with “Fif’s World,” he was eulogizing a friend, and revealing an ability to transmute difficult emotions into soulful music. On I Am Nothing Without, his Warner Music Canada debut, the mood has changed considerably. “Wave,” an early single, arrives with a flurry of bombastic horns, carrying his melodic autotune to a celebration worthy of Dionysus. The rapper’s ability to turn from mournful solemnity to mirthful celebration on a dime sets him far apart from his emergent peers. 

Bo Burnham’s transcendent comedy special isn’t the only great piece of COVID-adjacent art titled Inside released this year. The indie-rock quintet’s latest opens and closes with the sounds of the 7pm clanging pots and pans that once heralded the essential workers, and many of the tracks find them grappling with introspective thoughts while trapped in a room – being stuck inside one’s own head being an even worse fate than the physical boundaries.