Tanya Mor­gan: straight outta Brook­lyn

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

The hip-hop al­bum of the sea­son? Well, it sure ain’t the new Jay-Z joint. That dude has, un­for­tu­nately, blunted his edge of late. And nope, it’s not any of the usual ma­jor la­bel sus­pects who are sling­ing rhymes sim­ply to add to their bank bal­ance. The bright­est hip-hop al­bum to come New Mu­sic’s way in an age is Brook­ly­nati from Brook­lyn and Cincin­nati trio Tanya Mor­gan.

Based around the fic­tional metropo­lis of Brook­ly­nati (“with clean air, clean wa­ter and clean streets, the peo­ple of Brook­ly­nati lead clean lives”), the al­bum boasts the sort of fresh, soul­ful, funky cuts you thought no one was mak­ing any more.

The skits also raise a smile as var­i­ous ra­dio ads build pen-pic­tures of the city’s fic­tional char­ac­ters. We es­pe­cially like the sound of Brook­ly­nati one-hit won­ders, the Hard­core Gen­tle­men, and their ad for their one-off re­union gig.

Formed back in 2003 via the Roots-as­so­ci­ated Okay­player.com mes­sage­board, Tanya Mor­gan’s Von Pea, Don­will and Illyas started ap­pear­ing on radars with their Sun­light­ing mix-tape and Moon­light­ing de­but al­bum. While both of th­ese re­leases re­ceived plenty of un­der­ground ku­dos, the new al­bum is a whole dif­fer­ent ball game for the trio.

This time out, their beats and loops con­tain even more of the feel­good shine which used to fea­ture on clas­sic pro­duc­tions from the Na­tive Tongues and Slum Vil­lage crews. Mean­while, they’ve per­fected their lyri­cal reach too, which is now rem­i­nis­cent in places of De La Soul at their most con­fi­dent and out-there.

All of this en­sures Brook­ly­nati has the kind of in­fec­tious, cocky old-school swing that never re­ally goes out of fash­ion. Give it a spin and you never know, you might even con­sider mov­ing there.

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