"Brooklynati" by Tanya Morgan

Tanya Morgan
Brooklynati

Interdependent Media
2009

Review

Tanya Morgan are a great Hip-Hop group. Remember the great Hip-Hop groups of the 90's? I'm talking groups that sounded like groups. They had chemistry and they played off one another. Groups like Tribe or The Pharcyde. Well, this in that spirit.

It's not something that I really think about now, but it does seem like there aren't that many true Hip-Hop groups right now. I mean, there are "Groups" (with quotes) where individual MCees get together for an album or two. But something is missing, isn't it? I mean, I remember when the J-5's were starting to get some buzz and all the talk was about how they were bringing back the old-school Hip-Hop group aesthetic. I guess it didn't dawn on me that I took the Hip-Hop group for granted. We've talked about some great Hip-hop groups on Sonink (Giant Panda, Ugly Duckling, and Time Machine) but for the most part the "group" concept seems to me to be more the exception than the rule. Well, let me say this, Tanya Morgan is a great Hip-Hop group. So much in fact that while I was listening to the album I started reminiscing about early Hiero and Pharcyde joints.

I slept on Tanya Morgan's first release, and after listening to Broklynati I'm going to have to rectify that. I'm really digging the movement in Hip-Hop right now that brings about a production that has a more live instrumentation feel to it (samples or not). The majority of the tracks on Broklynati are on a slightly laid-back "let's enjoy life" vibe.

The album opens strong and maintains that pace consistent pace throughout. My neck hurts from all the headnods generating thanks to this album. There is a definite sense that these guys are influenced by what was good about Hip-Hop in the 90's, but never does it sound like it is trying to recapture that sound. It sounds more like the evolution of those great Hip-Hop groups that came out during that time period made relevant for the now. The first half of the album is literally banger after banger. ("Don't You Holla" made me stop listening the first time I heard it so that I could post on Twitter about how FIRE that track was).

What does it say about me that even the seemingly "joke" and Pharcyde/Souls of Mischief inspired track "Hardcore Gentlemen" made me hit the replay button?

The second half of the album loses a bit of steam most notable on "Never 2ndary" and "Never Enough" to some just ok production that lead to some "good but not great" tracks. But i was consistently blown away by the chemistry on display within the group and was always digging the positive uptempo beats.

There are some great lyrics on the album as well. The lyrics come in such a rapid-fire pace that you may need a few listens to catch some of them. I found myself just so into the blend of beats and flows that I stopped focusing on the lyrics themselves and had to play the tracks over again just so I could focus on what they were saying.

What else can I tell you? This is a great, great Hip-Hop group record with great uptempo production and dynamic lyricism. I'll leave you with this from "Just Arrived"

You can listen a lot
I see you see us out twice
But I ain't no cop
And you ain't helping if you ain't gonna cop
And then you have halfway listeners
Listening to only say they heard it
Then they giving us a thumbs up as if with
A thumbs down if we ain't in a trend

...well, I copped the album and gave it a good listen and am giving it a thumbs up. So go out and get this not to just say you heard but because it is totally against the trends in a good way.

4.400 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. On Our Way (03:36) 5
2. Alleye Need (05:32) 5
3. So Damn Down (04:46) 5
4. Bang & Boogie (03:53) 5
5. Don't U Holla (03:55) 5
6. Hardcore Gentlemen (01:45) 5
7. Plan B (04:01) 4
8. Intermission (03:13)
9. She's Gone a.k.a. "Without You" (04:50) 5
10. Never 2ndary (05:54) 3
11. Just Not True (04:22) 4
12. Morgan Blu (04:48) 4
13. Never Enough (Crazy Love) (03:57) 3
14. We're Fly (04:58) 5
15. Just Arrived (Now What?) (04:28) 4
16. Forgot 2 Say (04:17) 4