Toronto hip-hop artists Rich Kidd, Tona, and Adam Bomb not only have long and accomplished histories as solo artists in the city’s rich hip-hop history, but also as a formidable collective.

Back in 2015, the trio joined forces to form Naturally Born Strangers from a concept forged by Legends League designer Bryan Espiritu. Their critically acclaimed self-titled full-length project led them to pick up the award for Best Rap Recording at the Junos, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, back in 2015.

Now, as a new year approaches with 2020 thankfully firmly in the rearview mirror, the group have reconvened and re-emerged with “Sriracha” and “Michael’s First Nose,” two new tracks from their forthcoming 2021 release Thoughts and Prayers. Listen to them below.

"'Sriracha' is a newer song that laments crew love and sticking together through tough situations,” says producer and MC Rich Kidd, describing the track. Indeed, Adam Bomb’s leadoff double-time rhymes and Tona’s gritty come-up verse are odes to longstanding fraternity. Meanwhile Rich Kidd handles the Thai hot sauce-referencing hook and anthemic production along with producer Pops that makes mid-verse saxophone interludes sound like a completely obvious sonic inclusion. That confident sonic swag is underlined by the trio’s lyrical approach.

"We brag about being the best version of ourselves just like Michael Jackson's nose before the surgeries,” says Rich Kidd about the other new track “Michael’s First Nose.”

All things considered, that bragging is well justified. Gravel-voiced Tona has long been one of Toronto’s most consistent and prolific MCs and is fresh off the release of his latest album July 26th earlier in 2020. Adam Bomb, an alumni of Toronto’s famed Empire crew, has established a rep as an MCs MC and has a career dotted with scene-stealing performances on other people’s tracks. And Rich Kidd’s production resume reveals a roll call of Canadian hip-hop icons, ranging from Maestro to Drake, that he established on the foundation of the torrid run of his We On Some Rich Kidd Shit mixtapes. 

As Rich Kidd hints, “Michael’s First Nose” is a lyrical workout, laced with ominous, bass-rattling production he co-piloted with Pops and Andrew Afework. Rich Kidd himself leads off the proceedings, asserting, “I’ve been cold since Jeezy was a snowman/I’ve been dope since Michael’s first nose, man” on the hook. With lines like "This is gold to garbage/Chess to checkers/The Sistine chapel to these Etch-A-Sketches,” Adam Bomb’s unruffled nonchalance draws a defiant line in the sand. Tona picks up the baton for a blistering anchor leg unfurling an extended blackout verse showcasing the rhymes that we first got a teaser from in NBS’ cinematic 2018 video for the “The Re-Up.” Now, a few years later, the delivery of NBS’ sophomore project is finally imminent. On the evidence of these two tracks. it will definitely be worth the wait.