Published Jul 20, 2019Col3trane is cool. The Birmingham-raised, London-based rapper and singer born Cole Basta leans in on soulful sounds in delivering his take on his bedroom-production-powered alt-R&B and hip-hop. The artist, of American and Egyptian descent — whose cheeky code name clearly references his love of jazz and the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane — initially caught ears with 2017 single "New Chain."
Various outlets have described his UK electronic soul and American rap sound to the likes of Frank Ocean or How to Dress Well by way of Drake — and Col3trane continues to grow his craft and style while building off the buzz established by his 2018 project Tsarina.
Col3trane carries his cool charm well. As with many live shows with a rowdy crowd, a rapper's cadence can lose its sense of precision in spots, but Col3trane was more than up for the occasion, leaning in on his innate charisma, stagecraft and instinctual approach to timing and melody to pull things together for a satisfying experience.
It was a lean backing band setup — a keyboardist and guitarist — and it sufficed. Breakout track "Penelope" got a fervent reaction as did "Resume," off his Boot mixtape. The volume levels spiked for an audience sing-along on "Superpowers," his collaboration with GoldLink off his recent seven-track Heroine EP. The J Moon-produced "Divine Intervention" — also off Heroine — slapped with rhythmic effervescence, while "Heroine" and the elliptically trenchant "Problems In Us" hit their marks.
It was his first official appearance in Toronto — not the last, based on his growing discography and fan base — and he effusively let the crowd here know it, with expressions of amazement and gratitude: "Toronto really appreciates real music and musicianship… so thank you."
"The world is my oyster," as the lyric in "Penelope" goes and it couldn't be more apt to describe the London artist.