If you see a chick named Tanya Morgan in the street, slap her, cuz she’s perpetrating. Just jokes, but seriously. Tanya Morgan is not that girl you used to sweat during third period, they are a three man rap crew, consisting of Brooklyn-based MC/producer Von Pea and Cincinnati rappers Donwill and Ilyas. The Bridge EP is intended to be, well, a bridge between TM’s 2006 debut Moonlighting and the upcoming Brooklynati album.
Pea has stated in interviews that one of his goals in crafting the EP was to improve the mixing. He’s succeeded in getting a much better sounding mix on The Bridge, with the lows slinking under your Timbs and the hi-hats reaching New Era status.
The Bridge flows from track to track seamlessly, and the short length is welcome in a genre filled with self-indulgent 80 minute albums. The EP’s instrumentals adhere to soulful boom bap with an emphasis placed on vocal samples. By working closely with a tight-knit group of producers, the group has achieved a unified sound. Von Pea produced five of the album’s nine tracks, and the rest of the instrumentals were created by affiliate producers Brickbeats, Aeon, Mysterious Productions as well as 88-Keys (Black Star, Beanie Sigel, Musiq Soulchild).
A few tracks that stuck out for me: “Be You” featuring Czelena finds the TM emcees arguing for being yourself in a game that encourages rappers to mimic the next hot thing. “Filthier Interlude” brings to mind classic 90s posse cuts like Heavy D’s “Don’t Curse” with a syllable-stuffing verse from each member fighting to beat the clock on the barely two-minute cut.
Production wise, the electro sounding roller rink jam “How Low” is the only track that sounds out of place, but it’s a bonus track, so they’re forgiven.The Bridge’s true closer is “Hip Hop Is Dead II” where Von, Don, and Ilyas address the current state of hip-hop, ending with the refrain, “they keep saying hip hop is dead, but I can’t see it/I just can’t see it.”
As long as quality rappers like Tanya Morgan are dropping new material, I can’t see it either.
– Aaron Matthews