Tanya Morgan - Brooklynati
Production: Von Pea
Lead Single: So Damn Down
Imagine a city where it’s perpetually summer. A city where the trains are always free, there’s always a party happening, and those parties are always drenched in cold drinks, fly women and dope hip-hop. A hip-hop where auto-tune is not just dead, it was never alive. Where Vanilla Ice was never born and Dilla never died. That little slice of heaven is a city called Brooklynati, and its gods are Tanya Morgan. First thing’s first: Tanya Morgan is a hip-hop collective comprised of three guys, not a female R&B singer singed to Bad Boy (actually, … ...Read the full album review
DJBooth Album Review
Imagine a city where it’s perpetually summer. A city where the trains are always free, there’s always a party happening, and those parties are always drenched in cold drinks, fly women and dope hip-hop. A hip-hop where auto-tune is not just dead, it was never alive. Where Vanilla Ice was never born and Dilla never died. That little slice of heaven is a city called Brooklynati, and its gods are Tanya Morgan.
First thing’s first: Tanya Morgan is a hip-hop collective comprised of three guys, not a female R&B singer singed to Bad Boy (actually, Diddy would probably change her name to Danity Morgan, or something equally atrocious). Whatever their reason for choosing such a misleading name, the men of Tanya Morgan have been slowly but surely burning through hip-hop’s underground ranks, emerging into the spotlight with the release of their sophomore album Brooklynati – a name that comes from combining their group members’ respective hometowns (Brooklyn and Cincinnati). They’re lucky they weren’t born Boise and Reno. No one wants to buy an album called Boisno.
In the words of Tanya Morgan, Brooklynati is “the place where I was reborn,” which in a way describes the album as a whole. Too much fun for the backpackers, too complex for mainstream radio, Tanya Morgan doesn’t easily fit into hip-hop’s often-rigid categories, so they gave birth to their own. Just take the lead single So Damn Down, a track that combines an eclectically energetic beat from the group’s resident producer Von Pea while MCs Donwill and Ilyas keep things moving with charismatic verses. As down as I am with Damn Down, I’d rather Bang n’ Boogie. Boogie is one of the best “drive slow with the windows down” tracks in recent memory, a song that radiates the sexual energy of teenagers in the summertime (apologies to Will Smith’s classic Summertime). Does Bang n’ Boogie get play in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta or New York? I don’t know, but in Brooklynati, it’s a smash.
We now pause this review for an important announcement: The reader who can identify the most old school song references in the track Hardcore Gentlemen will win a shout out in next week’s review. For example, the second verse clearly contains a reference to ODB’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya. There’s at least five more old school references in the track, find ‘em and you’ll be famous, kind of. It’s like a Where’s Waldo hunt, except it might actually get you laid.
No city is perfect, and the same is true for Brooklynati. One of the album’s biggest strengths, its consistency and quality, is also one of its biggest weaknesses. Since so many of the album’s tracks live a mellowed and mid-tempo life they have a tendency to run together, losing an individual identity. In and of itself I don’t have anything against Morgan Blu, a soulful track built around a rhythm guitar line, but there’s nothing in the track to latch onto, making it disappear into the album’s sonic background. The same goes for Without U, an ode to hip-hop that would have been more powerful if it weren’t so clearly modeled after Common’s I Used to Love H.E.R., and the sparkling Never Secondary is so light is seems to floats off into space. Still, as much as I love my L.A. home, I’d have to seriously consider moving to a city that parties as hard as Alleye Need, a city full or artists so dedicated to music they don’t need a Plan B. Now that’s a city you can raise a family in.
OK hip-hop, you’ve officially been put on notice. With Brooklynati Tanya Morgan have created a musical landscape that captures the feeling of a living, breathing city, and if given enough time, they just might be able to create their own world. You’ve been warned. Act accordingly.
Listen to More: Tanya Morgan Written by Nathan S.
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Member Reviews and Ratings
Average Member Rating: Total Ratings: 4
DJ Booth Crew
I love your opening paragraph, Nathan. If I were to purchase a postcard during my summer vacation to Brooklynati, that's exactly what it would be. Along with P.O.S.'s "Never Better," Tanya Morgan's sophomore release is up there for my favorite rap album of '09 (so far). I came across only a handful of Tanya Morgan tracks over the years, maybe it was their name that caught my attention, but for some reason I never gave them the consideration they deserve.
Don't let their name fool you. TM is by far one of the most original and innovative hip-hop groups to hit the underground scene is a hot minute. Sure, the trio always comes fresh with the lyrics, but that's practically a given (see: DJBooth.net Freestyle Series #54). The main thing I love about "Brooklynati" is its groovy, soulful beats, courtesy of Von Pea, that are catchy as hell yet still very intricate and fly.
And let's not for the album's strong showcase of featured artists. Phonte gives rapper-turned-sangas a new name with his oozing hook on "She's Gone" and Blu takes the reigns with his caliber lead-off verse on "Morgan Blu." Although "Brooklynati" dropped over a month ago, a late pass is not necessary, for the summer is here and Tanya Morgan is ready to take you on a trip you won't forget.
|Posted on Jun 17, 2009|
Total Ratings: 4267
In a time where notoriety stems from flaunting flashy style rather than possessing unquestionable skills, albums like Tanya Morgan's "Brooklynati" are hidden treasures. Being released to little or no press but gaining a strong yet minute fan following, "Brooklynati" has benefited from positive word of mouth (at this point I would like to thank Nathan) to become one of the underground scene's tightest releases in the present year.
It’s smooth with a touch of grit. It’s serious but also full of humor. In other words, its an extremely well produced album with good emceeing. Features everything a hip-hop head could ever want: Dope, neck-breaking beats yet so soulful from Von Pea paired with fiery, content-driven rhymes.
In an age when ‘keeping it real’ has become a punchline to a played-out joke, Tanya Morgan wins by effortlessly injecting authenticity into their music – and that’s real all three emcees possess a fun chemistry that keeps the entire album interesting. It turns out there can be a happy medium somewhere between overblown caricature and snooze-inducing emcee, and these guys know that’s their ace in the hole.
1. Alleye Need
2. So Damn Down
3. Bang & Boogie
4. Plan B
5. She's Gone aka Without You
6. Never Enough (Crazy Love)
7. Hardcore Gentleman
|Posted on Aug 08, 2009|
Total Ratings: 303
ANOTHER CLASSIC!!! I'm a big fan of TM and I recommend their debut album, Moonlighting, to anybody who hasn't heard it. Don, Von, and Ill are three of the nicest MC's in the game, underground or mainstream.
|Posted on Aug 12, 2009|
DJ Booth Member
This is real music.
|Posted on Jan 08, 2010|
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