What a pleasant experience it is to pop a new CD in my player and observe a series of involuntary smiles appear on my face upon my first listen. That’s what happened to me within seconds of hearing “Freedom”, the first in Tunnel Rat Music’s vii Series, this installment served up by Macho(half of brother/sister duo New Breed).
With the releases “Stop The Music” and “Nine” along with their appearances on DVDs “Battle For L.A.” and “FlavorFest” New Breed have made a number favorable impressions with hip-hop fans. Both Macho and Elsie rhyme in way that is both commercial and underground. It should be no surprise then, that Macho(who is very nice on the mic ‘his own self’) would eventually make his own musical statement for the masses, and that that statement would lead out the vii series.
New Breed’s crew, the Tunnel Rat family(TR’z) have more than any other member of the hip-hop community, both raised the bar for the emcees who represent Christ and prompted respect from those emcees who do not. The vii Series is the latest addition to that legacy and the first release since the ‘freedom’ from a 3 year association with Uprok/BEC/EMI. The new sense of freedom is felt throughout the disc.
“Freedom” starts off with the track “Music”, a banger that sets it off real nice with Macho contrasting his perspective of the music that he’s making with the conventional wisdom of what exactly what makes ‘hit’. That theme of contrast continues on other tracks including the title track “Freedom(feat. Propaganda & Triune)”. The emphasis on this track is the freedom to spit rhymes with excellence instead of catering one’s art to achieve commercial success.
“Get It Poppin’(featuring Raphi a.k.a. ‘Big Shame’)” is a love ballad… just kidding…what do you think a track with a title like that is gonna sound like? (stay awake people) The track ends with a nice freestyle featuring Propaganda and a surprise appearance by Elsie of New Breed over a beatbox.
“Labels(featuring Sev Statik & Gaknew)” is currently my favorite(I have played the whole CD a number of times by now). This autobiographical piece highlights the reflections of a contentious relationship with the record label from the perspective of the recording artist, delivered in classic Tunnel Rat fashion by Macho, Gaknew & Sev Statik(who recently released a nice banger called “Slow Burn”).
“Infinite(featuring Sean Slaughter, Jamie, Zane & Sojourn)” encourages the listener to stay close to the Truth and avoid the traps of the many lies prevalent in this age. Outstanding verses contributed by all especially Zane of Saturday Night Freestylers & Sojourn of Future Shock.
The CD closes with “Passion(featuring Donovan Luke Henry)”, a forthright ode to the heart of the Gospel story, the passion of the Christ and “I Will Succeed(featuring Triune)”, a rhyme resolving to press on through adversity until divine destiny has been fully realized.
“Freedom” is a promising first entry to the vii Series. 7 songs, reasonably priced, with more releases to come. Feel ‘free’ to cop that and continue to support independent hip-hop…
For those into such things…
Similar artists: Tunnel Rats, New Breed, Sev Statik
Key tracks: “Freedom”, “Labels” & “Infinite”
4. Get it Poppin'
7. I Will Succeed