Best New Canadian Songs: Drake, TwoTiime, Belly, and More

Summer is officially over, but these new tracks from the likes of The Weeknd, Majid Jordan, and Tommy Genesis have helped to soften the blow.

Drake, Belly, The Weeknd, Majid Jordan, Tommy Genesis, and Hunnah
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Drake, Belly, The Weeknd, Majid Jordan, Tommy Genesis, and Hunnah

It’s official: summer is over. There’s a poeticism to the end of the season that stretches through the entire month of September. There’s so much newness, especially for students starting the school year, but it all has a bittersweet tinge because we’re seeing the sunniest season literally dry up and die before our eyes. And before we know it, we’re back to shovelling grey slush and layering parkas on top of our puffers. Fun!

To soften the blow, we still have a ton to look forward to and indulge in, whether it’s slow-burning singles trickling in from our long-lost faves Majid Jordan or finally getting to listen to Drake’s overdue opus Certified Lover Boy in its entirety. Enjoying these drops in heavy rotation is a comforting way to balance out the impermanence of the changing seasons and this month, Canadian acts were behind some of the songs that we’ve been keeping on repeat. Keep scrolling for September’s top tracks.

Drake, "Champagne Poetry"

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Drake knows how to start a project. He kicked off Certified Lover Boy with a nearly six-minute meditation contrasting the spoils of success (“I’m bigger now than before/Co-parent of the year, we figured out a rapport”) with the isolating feeling that comes from being virtually peerless (“Career is going great, but now the rest of me is fading slowly...My heart feel vacant and lonely”). The subject matter is typical Drake (which is stellar, BTW) but the instrumental is what makes “Champagne Poetry” a standout on the 21-song tracklist. Produced by Drake’s go-to sonic architect Noah “40” Shebib, the epic overture is anchored by a sample of a sample—Masego’s 2017 song “Navajo,” which features an interpolation of “Michelle” by The Beatles. You’re lying if you say that the beat switch mid-song didn’t give you goosebumps. —Sumiko Wilson

Amaal, "Heaven"

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The choral intro to “Heaven” is perfectly suited for the breezy R&B track’s divine subject matter. In her angelic tone, Amaal describes the feeling of extreme loved-up bliss with a partner who “opens up the gates of heaven.” The Nicky Davey-produced track has the signature smoothness that Amaal has become known for, but it feels slightly grittier than previous releases, a clear sign of her growth as an artist. During the chorus, you might notice the squeaking sample that subtly plays to mimic the sound of a bed, which makes it fitting for that playlist (you know what I mean). —Sumiko Wilson

TOBi and Brasstracks, "Good Luck For Real"

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On “Good Luck For Real,” TOBi lets the world know that he isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and that it’s possible to make your own luck. He takes listeners on a journey as he moves from self doubt—“My pops always told me I could be anything I meant to/Enter self-destruction in my mental”—to dripping in confidence. The funky, brassy horns and the thumping beat make for a danceable track that has nods to Anderson. Paak and De La Soul. TOBi is at his best when churning out soulful hip-hop, and this just proves he can create true magic when rapping about what’s real to him while still having fun. —Natalie Harmsen

Drake f/ Lil Baby, "Girls Want Girls"

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“Girls Want Girls” is that song. You know, the one you can’t help but laugh at, but it’s always somehow stuck in your head. I don’t think society will ever recover from Drake proclaiming he’s a lesbian with his whole chest. But corny lyrics aside (sorry Drizzy!), it’s the perfect example of the three key ingredients that make up Drake at his Drake-est: Drake simping over a woman he can’t have, a feature that boasts some witty lyricism, and a very moody beat. It’s been everywhere since Certified Lover Boy dropped, and although it’s new, it’s reminiscent of the Views era, which I’m not mad at. It will likely be on repeat for the foreseeable future. —Natalie Harmsen

Hunnah f/ Amindi, "My Man"

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Hunnah is very hard to ignore and it’s not just because she has flamingo-pink box braids and bleached brows. With only two drops this year, she’s cemented her spot at the forefront of Toronto’s new class of R&B songstresses. On “My Man,” she links up with Amindi to conjure up her ideal lover with a dreamy, bouncy track that could easily pop up in an episode of Insecure.

The Brampton singer wrote “My Man” alongside her high school classmates FRENCH-17 (the new songwriting duo made up of Waycool alums Kyle Wildfern and Seago) and says that the song came about after the two spent “years roasting my dating wish list.” Clearly she’s having the last laugh, though. —Sumiko Wilson

Majid Jordan, "Summer Rain"

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No album yet, but TBH that’s totally fine. Majid Jordan’s third drop of the year is their strongest yet. The post-pop duo kicked off autumn with “Summer Rain,” a synth-heavy, ’80s-inspired track where Majid Al Maskati sings about the relief of a lover coming into his life. In the song’s second half, Al Maskati lets his falsetto soar, while Jordan Ullman delivers with another instrumental that’s equal parts nostalgic and fresh. A clear sign that they’re still in sync. —Sumiko Wilson

Belly and The Weeknd f/ Nas, "Die For It"

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When Belly signed with XO and Roc Nation in 2015, it seemed the rest of the world had only caught a few glimpses of the greatness that lay ahead for the rapper, but Canadian fans had been aware of this musical giant for a while. We’d been rocking with him for over a decade, thanks to some hard-hitting mixtapes and his Juno-winning debut studio album. 

Belly’s back again with his latest album See You Next Wednesday. Definitely some bangers on it with a stacked list of collabs, but a standout worth mentioning is “Die For It” with fellow XO artist The Weeknd and one of the most legendary MCs of all time, Nas. The three heavyweights do not disappoint on this dark, opulent anthem that sees The Weeknd carry a melodic hook and Belly and Nas spit nothing but premium bars. Throw on a hoodie and slap on some headphones—it’s the perfect soundtrack to end off the summer and usher in the colder weather. —Alex Narvaez

TwoTiime, "Juice"

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TwoTiime is the rapper your favourite Canadian rappers have their eyes on. I know this because more than a few MCs have hit me up telling me as much. The Ottawa artist has been on a rocket-powered ascent since dropping his breakout track “Keep It Real” last year, even getting flewed out by one Polo G to sit in on some studio sessions in L.A. One spin of “Juice” and it’s clear why—the dude oozes raw talent, gliding gracefully between octaves on a springy beat by Almighty Nate, VVS Melody, and Glory Gainz. His flows are weightless, but his words are heavy; on the track he raps about self-medicating to cope with the painful realities of street life. Still, grim as his road’s been, TwoTiime’s aware his future’s bright. “And I swear my family hate me/So I been on this juice more than lately/Motivation for the youth I know they rate me,” he spits. Indeed they do. —Alex Nino Gheciu

Kallitechnis and Jarreau Vandal, "Selfish"

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We’re fully tapped into Montreal singer Kallitechnis’ fresh take on neo-soul. For the second single from her forthcoming EP, she teamed up with Amsterdam-based DJ and producer Jarreau Vandal (who you might recognize from Soulection) to create a jazzy ode to self love that’s so smooth it sounds like it was recorded with a live band. On Instagram, she explained that the track is about “protecting your energy, setting boundaries and knowing your damn worth!” That resonates! —Sumiko Wilson

Tommy Genesis, "A Woman Is a God"

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I genuinely can’t wait to hear DJs incorporate this into their sets. The third track on Tommy Genesis’ latest album goldilocks x is an ultra-feminist anthem disguised as a club-ready banger. The Vancouver native floats over a house beat, produced by Lil Rich and The Martinez Brothers. In a Q&A with PAPER, she admitted that the concept came to her pretty easily—she wrote and recorded the song in just 15 minutes. “The line felt natural: what are women compared to men? Gods,” she said. “I also hadn’t heard it said in that exact way before, so it felt like something familiar but fresh.” —Sumiko Wilson

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