April 05, 2015

Tanya Morgan "Moonlighting" (CMJ, 2005 )

Forget Aesop Rock's gripe about journalists critiquing his first eight bars. Tanya Morgan's party flag is flying before the group even nails a couplet: "Y'know, the last time Brooklyn and Cincinnati got together, a classic was made." Assume they mean Talib and Hi-Tek (though Bootsy playing bass for Deee-Lite would also be acceptable), but also assume it means the three MCs have their feet on cardboard and their eyes on the prize. Brooklynite Von Pea and Cincinnati rappers Ilyas and Donwill ("Tanya Morgan" is as much a neo-soul diva as Lucy Pearl or Lynyrd Skynyrd) are tru-schoolers that rhyme ridiculously fast for such tricky rhyme schemes ("Gimme a break / And when it's phat that's shit phat like the cliche I didn't say / Neil Carter for the heart-a comprehension"). Beatwise, it's lo-fi Jay Dee - Slum Village on a slummier budget, Common hanging with us common folk - shimmering despite (or because) of the fact that their turntable wobbles, dragging melodic phrases over the tail end of beats. "Pretty" is like an extroverted Lord Quas fricasseeing Al Green's "Oh, Pretty Woman" into a stuttering snare drum. They do the same Muggsian trick on "We Bad!," rewriting LL Cool J's "I'm Bad" as a cop car doing circles around a cul-de-sac, while the guys get high off their own skills in the back seat. - CMJ, 2005. Check the full album below... (Updated link).

Full review by Christopher R. Weingarten in CMJ New Music Monthly...