Aug 30, 2019

Album Review: Voice of Reason - @_tnah_ (words by @RamseySaidWHAT)

July 27th 2019 11:57 AM

I'm sitting in the ridiculous line that was Curlfest 2019. My girlfriend was already inside with her homegirl Katelynne who shares a 3C hairtype. Between getting off the free shuttle to Randall's Island (with this hilarious bus driver shooting his shot with the natural shorties) and dodging this rabid raccoon in line; I was trying to save my phone battery until it rang. I was expecting a "Where are you?" from my lady, but I was pleasantly surprised with what became the inspiration behind this here article.

Yeah, T'NAH's back! Formerly the first lady of Pro Era is back and making music again with her brand new project, Voice of Reason. This is actually her debut project as a solo artist. She's done countless features on projects from Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Chelsea Reject and of course the Pro Era posse cuts, cyphers, and tapes. Aside from her own singles and loosies this is her first full album. She's been through a lot of changes in her time away from the spotlight. She's even done two name changes running with Kris and now dropping the Apex. One of our writers broke this down a few years back. My hope is this review is the beginning of the answer to the question people have been asking for nearly a half a decade: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO T'NAH APEX?  After a few conversations with the Brooklyn spitter and songstress, we'll get the story from her mouth in an exclusive A-Side B-Side Podcast Interview coming soon. In the meantime let's get to the music.

I promise I won't make anymore Lauryn Hill comparisons because that would be too easy. Besides, I hear way more jazz influence when T'NAH sings. Track one, Tension, proves just that. She almost scats her cadence of singing, but they are written lyrics. I'm always amazed how she goes back and forth from singing to spitting back to singing so flawlessly in the same 16. If you don't really pay attention it almost sounds like she abandons prose and is just speaking into the mic; however even that's on beat even if it's nonchalant. We've seen that since first hearing her on her classic hook from Snakes and verse on Suspect on Bada$$'s unofficial debut 1999.

Just Like That serves as a interlude as it's less than a minute. I can see this song on a Pink Panther episode. She reaches deep into her tenor range and it's fluid, almost effortless for her. Act Rite is the first nitty-gritty Brooklyn bar spitting that we'd expect from T'NAH. She still flips bars and riffs on cue, "floating like a butterfly."

"Without growth what a waste,
You just a sack of trillions of sales
Won't be havin' my soul extracted for sale
You can stay in hell or you can lift the veil"

I think the words are self explanatory and speak for themselves. This seems to be a theme throughout. Let's move forward to track five. Man Dun featuring Kumbaya and Zamy Maa is the magnum opus of this here listen. This is the only song that has a feature and no one that we've heard from before. Kumbaya and Zamy Maa adopt a singing-rapping jive style that complements T'NAH very well. The things I like about this trio is how the mix the end of each bar where they all sing three part harmony individually over a particular scat holding the last note to the end of the measure.

Love Myself is interesting. I kind of have a lyric video in my head to the song as it is. I can see a young lady sitting on her couch reading a book sipping on coffee or red wine (nothing else just those two beverages) with a cat walking around brushing it's tail on her for attention. Then suddenly it takes on a beat change featuring a tribal flute and percussion accompaniment. I'd love to hear T'NAH drop a couple bars over it. Before I could finish the though Lyft You Up plays and tells another tale of affection. Only this time to a lover, then fade out.

What I enjoy about this tape is you can just let it run without looking at whatever device you're listening on. The feel is almost one very long song. I don't know if it's because of how well it's mixed, track sequencing, or both. It's like running a vinyl on Side-B. It's smooth like that. I've always thought T'NAH had the most upside from her peers. She's super talented and can find a lane or pocket that may be unorthodox to the ordinary spitter. I feel like if Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder were rappers they'd try to sound like T'NAH. Eight tracks and less than a half hour of your time suffices well for a debut. It's enough to keep your attention and a little to make you want more. If you're as impatient as me for the interview you can catch her September 7th at the first stop of the Fruits Of The Gods Tour at Remy Rouge Culture Center in Brooklyn. The tour also features Kumbaya and Zamy Maa respectively. Grab your ticket by clicking here. Check out Voice of Reason on your favorite streaming platform and look out for our interview coming soon. I need you to feel this.
Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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