The album TCTAS will have it's 5th anniversary party this Friday 4/20 at the Fassler Hall bar in downtown Tulsa. So it's only right that we review this classic project by the one and only Verse, (a,k,a 1st Verse). For those that haven’t figured it out yet TCTAS stands for "The City That Always Sleeps", an appropiate title for a city that has seen great talent shunned away because of the stigma of being "local". But as Verse shows with this album that you can only sleep on him for so long.
What I like about this album is that it's feel embodies the essence of hip-hop. From the boom bap production that was made popular in early 90's east coast hip-hop to Verse's smooth delivery and percisive percussive flow. This album is hip-hop from the very first track "Sooner State", which is an introduction to the artist Verse. "My names Verse I Don't need a Fuckin Hook".
Going into Track 2 the stage has been set. Verse is the artist and rap is his "Day Job".
I be pushin the pen around praying it pays off,
The album has a lot of features, one of the effects of having a 26 track album. But none of these features feel like they are space fillers. As each featured artists contributes an important element to each track while at the same time contributing to the overall feel of the album. A favorite of these features is "Keep Growin'" which features fellow Tulsa artist Steph Simon. The song seems to be a display of two artists who though are in a competive sport have a mutual respect and both continue to push each other as true competitors would. Listen to Steph Simon spits:
Verse killed my track,
One of the stand out tracks of the album has to be "Buy Ya Own" which features Earl Hazard (a.k.a Mr, Burns). The track has become a fan favorite which when performed live showcases the chemistry of Verse and Earl Hazard as they effortlessly pass the mic back-and-forth. This song highlights two lyricists whose love for hip-hop has created a truly phenomenal moment encapsulated inside of a dope track.
Track 16 "The City That Always Sleeps" is the title track of the album that perfectly sums up Tulsa. Verse was one of the ones to truly build a hip-hop scene in downtown Tulsa. A part of the city that never acknowledged hip-hop as a genre that would fill venues, until now. Tulsa is a city that has seen so much pain and at the same time so much beauty and Verse knows this all to well. "Tears to so much pain. And a place that make you want to go where nobody knows your fucking name..... This is the city that always sleeps.”
The album is filled with a lot of quotables which makes you go back and listen to the album even deeper and dissect just what Verse had to say. For example on "No Love" where Verse spits a line that's so real that if you're not listening close enough than you just might miss it. "The government declared war on my man in the projects, Because you can’t declare war on inanimate objects".
At 26 tracks this is truly a complete album. Which from an album perspective this seems heavy, but diving in to the songs it's easy to see that each track adds actual value to the album. Each feature contributes to and elevates which all culminated into the album that is TCTAS. So In a world where artists drop albums every year, this was clearly the opposite. This an album that would take time to digest. An album that needed to be re-introduced to. An album for a city that always sleeps. So come join us as we celebrate Verse's "TCTAS" and if you get a chance even though it ain't on the album go request PIZZA AND COOKIES.
Also buy and stream the album here:
Jay-Z dropped one of the craziest tracks on which he airs out the family laundry on. You know. "Family Feud". And ever since then rappers have been following J's lead by spittin their own rendition of the track (Checkout the article "Family Feud: The Instrumental Rappers Are Using for Therapy"). Not to be left out M.C. has a few words for the state of rap in Oklahoma of which it would only be right that he use "Family Feud" for his track "Part Two".
I'm known more for the clothes than all my raps,
Anyone who has been to both Tulsa and Oklahoma City knows that even though they are separated by less than a 2 hour drive that these two places feel like there thousands of miles apart. The same goes for the people that live there. There has always been a state feud between these two cities who both have seen there share of national attention both good and bad.
This feud is so deeply rooted that it that it has spilled over into both hip-hop scenes, Which has also lead to a number of beefs and subliminal shots toward rappers from both cities. There has always been a constant competition between Tulsa and Oklahoma City and this is just dividing the state even more as both cities are wanting to claim the crown as the Oklahoma hip-hop capital. Something M.C. speaks on:
We sharin' the same state
So how big can hip-hop in Oklahoma be? The possibilities are truely endless. But one things for sure is that hip-hop in Oklahoma will never reach it's full potential if we don't come together as a state and support each other. Because as M.C. explains it. "Nobody wins when the family feuds. That's nothing new!".
Checkout M.C's remix to Family Feud called "Part Two" below:
An introduction is not to be taken lightly especially since you only get one first introduction. Narrator's like Morgan Freeman and Forest Whitaker are often sought after because they know how to properly set the stage. And who can forget the DeRay Davis's impression of the late great comedian Bernie Mac on Kanye West's first album College Dropout. This was the introduction to the artist and hip-hop legend/producer/fashion designer we know today as Kanye West. With all that being said, the right introduction can change lives.
I remember being at bar that had a rap show going on and the music cutting off. As the beat started up a young kid from outside grabbed the mic and started to rap like his life depended on it. He was not 21 yet, so he couldn't come in the venue, so he continued to rap outside the door. And with every bar, every verse guided him one step closer to the door. I remember asking Dial Tone, "Who is that?". He said "That's Jay MBA. He's a dope producer, and he can rap". And as soon as I turned back to the door I saw Jay MBA with all bravado step through the door and rap straight bars.... That night I remember thinking to myself. Now that's an introduction.
I asked Jay MBA what song would he use to introduce himself to the world and he sent this song called "Beforeigo". The song is fire. It has that classic Boom Bap production layered with a melodic combination of piano chords and violin strings. Jay MBA has a smooth flow smooth that is as cool as his demeanor. The song has these moments that are as powerful as spoken word artists on a Def Poetry Jam stage with deeply engraved metaphors. And the last thing to note about this track is that sprinkled subtly throughout the track is.. bars!! So if this is Jay MBA's introduction to the world, than I would say again. Now that's an introduction.
Al Pacino with the keys,
So listen to Jay MBA's new track Beforeigo and introduce yourself to his music.
Also don't forget to follow his social media:
YouTube: Jay MBA
To be a rapper from Tulsa means that there is no Blueprint when it comes to being an unknown artist to being the next Jay-Z. The road is relatively unpaved. But one artist looking to pave his own way is up and coming rapper D Koolin who released his first video “Lane”. With a smooth melody and a hard hitting 808 “Lane” much like Tulsa streets is filled with bumps, potholes, and dreams. The video is a short introduction (being only 1 minute and 50 seconds) to an artist that although is still new to the game, shows potential.
“Backwoods for Mary Jane,
Anyone who knows the Tulsa rap scene knows that competition is fierce, so only time will tell if D Koolin wil be the next to blow up. But if D Koolin puts in the work and puts out great projects then the sky's the limit to what he will accomplish. Until then RUMBLE YOUNG MAN RUMBLE.
So check out D Koolin's video “Lane” below also follow his social media:
Facebook: Dee Koolin
SoundCloud: D KOOLIN
YouTube: D KOOLIN
54 seconds in to the video a piano starts to play as a polarizing voice spits: “Dreads swingin’ like Quick Tillis, I ain’t got no patience for you bitch niggas...” As the voice continues to rap the camera zooms out to a wide shot of white marble floors and tall luxurious white ceilings. The voice is none other than St. Domonick, an independent artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma. With the release of his new project #SSS (short for Santos Swim School) St. Domonick is seeing that the hard work, the long hours, and the attention to detail is paying off. The song playing in the video is called “In my mind” which is the 7th song on the project and sticks out on the project as a break from the more uptempo tracks to a deeply reflective, yet conversational feel to it. This is the St. Domonick which has been seen on some of his previous projects such as “ORPHIC”, which it shows that there's more to the artist than the first glance.
But as the song plays a phone rings. And St. Domonick stops to answer. A voice yells: “Dom Where the fuccin tape nigga?" This line is further expanded by St. Domonick in the full version of the song which details using a Menace II Society quote to emphasize the point that his fans have been waiting.
“My fans like Larenz Tate nigga.
The video immediately jumps back into “Track 4” which is the 3rd track off the album to a more upbeat charismatic St. Domonick who makes the city his playground. Read more about Track 4 on my guest post here: Track 4 Review
Listen to the whole song “In my mind” in it's entirety here: In my mind
To hear more from St. Domonick go to his SoundCloud @St. Domonick and to get updates about up and coming projects follow his Instagram @Vuelo918
Also watch the whole video front to back:
Flavio Cútatore is back and he is "Cuttin Up" with his latest hit single you guessed it "Cuttin Up". But what you didn't guess is that his alter ego Flavio Cútatore could put out hits just like Keeng Cut, and his way. With Flavor, You've heard Flavio Cútatore on hits such as "Marathon Lady" and "NFMC" but it's this song right here! This song here!!! That's going to push him over the top. Check out the Flavor for yourself as he ends the verse with so much flavor.
Few people have mastered their sound like Hakeem Eli'juwon. He has a disctinct voice that stands out even on tracks that aren't even his. So it's only right that anyone that raps on his track is able to standout as well, and that's exactly what Bezel 365 does on the track "I'm Plugged".
"Me found Bravery in my Bravado" this bar is taken from Kanye West's track "Dark Fantasy" which appears on his album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy". But this bar also perfectly describes "TheGRAE" an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who with the release of his recent project "Live From Trytan" is looking to leave the same if not greater mark than his icon Kanye. Comparing the the two it's easy to see why Kanye West is one of TheGRAE's biggest influences, Especially after realizing that both are producers turned rappers/artists, and both come from a city where the odds of making it out of those city limits are greatly against them.
On February 3rd Lacy Park hosted an event called the "5th Annual Black Wall Street Heritage & History Festival". It was Black Excellence at it's finest and it showed glimpses of the old Black Wall Street, the same Black Wall Street that is needed more now than ever. The concept of the "Black dollar" circulating around a community and seeing one purchase be the seed to a community that has been left barren after the destruction of what was once a thriving land.
The shores of Tulsa are often calm. Quiet. Unbothered. Except for one surfer named St. Domonick, who with his recent release #SSS has been making some major waves. Short for "Santos Swimming School", #SSS is an inside look into a more braggadocios St. Domonick whose love for 90s nostalgia and culture can be felt throughout the project.