STWO’s a shadowy presence on ‘D.T.S.N.T.’

Toronto emerged at the turn of the decade as a fruitful, vibrant music-cultivating area, with Drake obviously leading the way. But many associates, including the Weeknd, dvsn, and now STWO (stew) have followed in his narcotic footsteps, each bringing something new to the table to expand the region’s reach. STWO contributed to the Views highlight “Weston Road Flows,” launching him to his biggest audience yet.

D.T.S.N.T. is technically an EP, but at eight tracks and 27 minutes, it’s as long as some albums, so it’s a mostly meaningless distinction. The record’s length is both its greatest strength and biggest weakness as STWO proves to be a more than capable producer in his own right, if not somewhat limited in his bag of tricks. His productions deftly apply empty space as an instrument in its own right, carving out an impressive amount of space in the hole he burrows for himself.

“Fill the Void” in particular showcases STWO’s strengths – the sparsity of sound, the sly rhythms and smoldering melodies – as well as his knack for finding the right artist to pair with his sound. Relatively unknown artists such as Sevdaliza, Amir Obe, Brent Faiyaz, and MK Grands show up on D.T.S.N.T., and each makes their presence not only known, but felt. “I’m in the moment, don’t tell me I’m blowin’ up” raps Amir Obe on “Void,” and he might as well be speaking for everyone involved. Because while this record won’t be breaking records the way their fellow Toronto acquaintance is right now, it lays an even, sturdy foundation for Stwo to build up his sound in the future.

Listen to D.T.S.N.T. via Apple Music.

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