Artist: Tame OneTitle: Whan Rappers AttackRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine
The Artifacts were responsible for some of raps better entries during the latter years of hip-hop’s “golden era”. If you’re too young to remember, try looking up and listening to “Wrong Side of the Tracks” or “Art of Facts” for remedial knowledge. When the New Jersey reppin’ duo split, both members (Tame and El Da Sensei) left their major label to make big noise in the underground. El dropped his solo venture Relax, Relate, Release late last year but it has been a couple of years since Tame began working with Philadelphia’s High and Mighty on his own solo effort. The fruit of that union is When Rappers Attack on Eastern Conference Records.
Six years removed from the last Artifacts album, Tame has proved that old dogs can still pick up new tricks. His trademark arrogant edged flow still intact, you’ll also hear an updated delivery in his presentation. On the title track, Tame’s wordplay is much more quick-cut than his earlier work. Equally, tracks like “Up to No Good Again”, feature a sped up flow, reminiscent of Kool G Rap. To prove his versatility, Tame spits his bars at a slower pace with precise pauses on “Leak Smoke”, alongside the LP’s lone guest, Cage. Lyrically, a choice track off the LP is “Homage to the Bomberz”, an ode to graffiti writing, something Tame made a name for himself with.
The track is a reminder of Artifacts days, that Tame is still one of the only cats in the game to recognize the writers.
In terms of production, the Eastern Conference crew supplies a more robust backdrop than those acquainted with Tame’s past product will be accustomed to, which is not a bad thing. The beats on tracks like, “Tame as it Ever Was” are so fresh and busy, that they really help drive home Tame’s mood. Production from DJ Mighty-Mi on the Slick Rick homage “Moment I Feared and Brooklyn bad boy, J-Zone, on “Tame As it Ever Was” help jump start Tame’s game. The music also takes hefty risks with a tracks like “Slick Talkin’” using sounds arranged in an unconventional format listeners won’t be used to. You’ll either love it or hate it. Regardless, this record sounds nothing like the Shawn J. Period and Buckwild productions that were found on The Artifacts best work.
Records like these encourage the listeners love for hip-hop. A ten year veteran has returned with a brand new sound and still manages to excite. This record has big balls, in terms of its braggodocious lyrics, raw beats, and consistent sequencing that make it memorable.