No Saints Loading – [MANILA GREY]

The reigning Kings of Canada’s West Coast, Soliven and Neeko, have been on quite the tear this year. After finding initial success in 2018 with the video for “Timezones” the R&B duo doubled down on their Filipino-Canadian heritage to begin to absolutely dominate both regions with their futuristic sonics. Coming off the success of their single “Silver Skies”, MANILA GREY embarked on a World Tour that took them across Asia and Canada to perform their hits in front of sold-out crowds. This year has taken their early fame and developed it into the beginnings of an illustrious career for a team that is running on all cylinders in all aspects of their creative output.

Their latest album No Saints Loading dropped last week and is their first full-length release since their debut project No Saints Under Palm Shade put them on the map. While this project was intended to be the long-awaited follow up to last year’s debut, it is dense with big songs that are incredibly relatable for all those who listen. What makes this project incredibly special is the way they tie in their home city of Vancouver into each song, something the likes of which the city has really never seen. Growing up in Vancouver, there were never any hip-hop icons to look up to in our own city so having an artist rapping about something as simple as linking up at Duffins (a Vancouver staple) is wildly impactful and will help the city as a whole develop the culture needed to inspire more young artists to start making music.

MANILA GREY and their producer azel north have always had innate chemistry that leads to fully developed soundscapes that highlight both artists’ vocals without taking the spotlight away from his masterful production. If I’m being honest, azel was really in his bag this entire project and helped further develop the signature sound that has gotten them this far. The intro track “Night Code” features an insane cadence from singer Soliven that immediately cuts through your speakers like a sword on paper. This entire project sees each artist level up their delivery, Neeko touches on personal areas of his journey with a flow that immediately makes you stop what you’re doing to provide the song your full attention. “Highbeams Hot Interlude” is one of the shortest songs on the project but fully displays the production powers of azel north, meant to feel like traveling on the scenic highways between Vancouver’s suburbs. He is not wrong.

One thing that makes me proud to share a project like this is that MANILA GREY truly makes music that evokes the feelings of my home city Vancouver, a feat I have never been able to attribute to any other artist previously. They have laid an impressive foundation for artists blazing a trail to the top. For this only being a project to keep their rabid fan base behaved, it is full of memorable songs that will connect with many people in very different ways. Be on the lookout for their next album No Saints On Knight Street, what that album will hold is sure to be nothing short of incredible.

Stream No Saints Loading on all platforms here!