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: