What could Manhattan’s famous Wall Street and Oshawa’s Bloor Street possibly have in common? Well, a wolf of course.
Oshawa rapper, James Lean, 27, has dropped his third full-length project entitled The Wolf of Bloor Street, a take on the 2013 film, the Wolf of Wall Street.
Inspired by the early work of rappers such as Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame, Lean says he aims to re-create a style of rap similar to what he remembers listening to in the early 2000s.
In the film, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a young stockbroker hoping to achieve the American dream as a businessman on Wall Street in the early 1990s. Throughout Lean’s mixtape, skits of scenes taken from the movie connect to each track. Songs like Purse, and Like a Doll, are paired with scenes from the movie that reflect the same idea in the music.
“[Rappers] would do this all the time. They would take a movie, or they would name themselves something and make a mixtape based off just that concept. Gucci 2 Time, Lebron James Flocka, things like that,” Lean said.
While recording the mixtape, Lean held of on doing any live performances to focus on creating new music.
Lean said in a two-month period he recorded roughly 40 songs and from there whittled it down to the 10 best songs that reflect the movie-based concept. The project’s artwork took nearly three months to complete and represent the music, he said.
“I had the project for a long time – it was just [ a matter of getting it] mixes and mastered, and to sit down and pick every skit. It was a big process,” Lean said.
“I just wanted to wait for the new year to put it out. I want to release three mixtapes this year,” with the Wolf on Bloor street being the first, paying homage to Gucci.
In the studio, Lean’s creative process usually begins with finding an instrumental and from there record the song’s chorus.
“Shout out to Phil G Productions, he made every beat on the Wolf on Bloor Street. [During the making of the tape] I was striving so hard to make it the best I possibly could. I was just [throwing away] whole songs– really trying [to achieve the best].”
Lean describes his style as “I sound like, cause I listen to, Atlanta rappers,” listing some of his favourite rappers such as Travis Scott, Migos, and Young Thug as some of his major influences.
“The moment I hear Travis Scott I knew I need to do something like that, but still rap [in my own way],” Lean said. “Somewhere along the line I want to find my own uniqueness like he has. He came out with something that was original and it captivated everybody.”
Lean says he plans to release his next mixtape, Lebron James Lean, in May during the NBA playoffs.
“I just want to be happy,” Lean said. “Everybody wants to be famous, but my ideal [job is being] able to do shows and just live my life.”