Tanya Morgan: straight outta Brooklyn
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.