Eternia & Rel McCoy’s debut collaborative album, ‘FREE’ is a liberating ‘beauty from ashes’ sonic journey from two of Canada’s hip-hop greats. The album represents a grand comeback for Eternia, who in 2010 released the Juno Award-nominated ‘At Last’ with producer MoSS on Fat Beats Records. Transformative events changed her life since that release, including personal triumphs (starting a family) coinciding with personal struggles (mental/physical health) and artistic struggles (this project was rebooted), all while navigating a global pandemic and the isolation that ensues. ‘FREE’ is born of these experiences as she partners with Rel McCoy, a Juno Award-winning producer she compliments heavily for providing the incredible soundscapes on the record, as well as contributing a few vocal appearances.
It’s easy to hear just what she means on standout singles like the warm and nostalgic “Most PPL” and moody and haunting “Home,” the latter of which features fellow Canadian talents Shad and SHEAL. These are lyrically rich, profound tracks that are both easy to follow but brimming with layers, effortlessly walking us through complex themes with straight-shooting simplicity as only veterans can do. From Eternia’s attention-grabbing vocals to Rel’s nostalgic and melodic blend of boom bap production, FREE is just as engaging as it is organic.
Rel big-ups his collaborator for why the record sounds like it does. “She has an excellent ear and knows what she’s looking for when she has a song concept in mind,” he says. “Her selection of beats is what kept it diverse and interesting.”
Speaking of concepts, there are almost too many dope ones on ‘FREE’ to name. But perhaps the most gripping is “The Story of Us,” one of two collaborations with her husband, Mr. Lif (the other track being “Secret”). The track outlines how the two met, fell in love, and became a family, and it boasts heavenly vocals from Eliki on the hook.
Beyond the singles, Eternia just wants her listeners to emotionally connect with FREE. “I hope people take the whole record in,” she says. “But even if they just take in a song here and there, I hope it leaves them feeling—ANY feeling.” For the hip-hop world at-large, there’s certainly a feeling of appreciation, and the hope we don’t have to wait another decade for more fire from Eternia.
‘FREE’ is available now for pre-order and officially drops Sept 24 through all major DSPs along with a limited run of vinyl through Fat Beats.