Back in the summer of 1999, I was very green: this was the summer before I went to my lonely year at LaSalle, the summer where I finally used my own hard-earned money to cop shit I loved (shelltoes and Ecko backpacks), which happened to include good music. That summer, my discman played a few discs non-stop: Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star and The Roots' Things Fall Apart. I remember this summer because of these albums - they documented where I was at mentally and emotionally in my life, and, front-to-back, are some of the cornerstones in the next phase of my Hip-Hop evolution.
And, sadly, this is the last time I remember buying albums that I could play without skipping... until now. And on May 12th, you'll be able to cop what I'm calling my favorite album of 2009, Tanya Morgan's Brooklynati. Some call TM our generation's De La or Tribe. I can see that, but really, I just consider them to be ill. They are our Tanya Morgan, the evolution of that female that Common used to love, and has now (seemingly) abandoned. And with Brooklynati, the sound that they've cultivated since Moonlighting has blossomed into a busty, beautiful bombshell, eager to intoxicate and entice with her soothing grooves and insightful lyrics.
Sounds weird? Good. For your Internet geeks who clutch your Jansport packs tight, this one should win you over on beats alone. I threw this on on a rainy night, standing on the busstop, and I felt like I got transported to high school, when I could really ride out with an album, and not just skip back and forth to my favorite cuts or the rawest beats. And when you listen, the niggas are really saying something. Yeah, they do have tracks where they are "rappin' about rappin'" ("Just Not True"), but even those tracks are delivered on an iller plane than what some of these acts produce. The thing is, these are real niggas. If I lived in Brooklynati (which is one place I feel is like a second home), I would crack a brew with these cats and snap on the niggas walking through the hood.
Plus, these niggas are FUNNY! How many acts can throw together a running joke, like a Hip-Hop group that had one hit 15 years ago... then include a song that is their hit!?!? And make it sound like Onyx meets Souls of Mischief ("Hardcore Gentleman")?! Strolling through Brooklynati, you're forever treated to radio station drops and other soundbytes that will keep you chucklin' in between the beats, as if the seed that Prince Paul and De La planted has continued to bloom right in Yancey Park. They aren't just jokes, though - "Plan B" is a true testament for those artists who know they are doing what they are destined to, for its what fuels their drive; the trials and tribulations of being struggling (starving?) artists in today's music scene is broken down with real talk and honesty in "Don't U Holla", but in hearing tracks like the Lessondary crew-posse cut "Never Secondary" (whattup Elucid!?!?), or Blu-assisted "Morgan Blu", and you know that love is there - but, hey, we all need some kind of compensation for the work we do, nahmean?
And I'll be DAMNED if "Without U" isn't our generation's "I Used To Love H.E.R.", which is a dope completion to the cipher, if you understand the name Tanya Morgan.
The number of features include some of my favorites like Phonte, Brittany Bosco, Che Grand, Kay and a host of others, who addsome vibrant colors and voices to this already-stunning piece of material. Comedy, joy, pain, REAL LIFE... this is like a modern-day documentary of Anyhood, USA. I won't call it an opera, for no fat lady is singing... TM's legacy will continue on, and I'll keep bangin' this joint front to back until my wife tells me to cut the shit.
rock the dub gives Tanya Morgan's Brooklynati a 4.5 out of 5 stars for fresh lyrics, timeless beats and a complete, concise package that lives up to all of the hype and acclaim bestowed upon these talented brothers. Grab your boarding pass, the next train to Brooklynati departs... NOW!
For more info on Tanya Morgan, visit their MySpace page. Get some info on their label, Interdependent Media, HERE, and make sure you pre-order and cop the album (or the limited edition) from the IM store.
LISTEN "So Damn Down", "Morgan Blu" (ft. Blu)