Posted by: Dominic Umile | 05/14/2009

Close Listen: Tanya Morgan, ‘Brooklynati’

BrooklynatiUnderground hip hop act Tanya Morgan never assume an aggressive approach on their sophomore full-length Brooklynati, unless it’s for the purposes of poignant satire. The three members — Donwill, Ilyas, and Von Pea — hail from both Brooklyn and Cincinnati, and have never dealt anything but authenticity over the course of their active six year-long partnership, in humorous and heartfelt odes to friends, the industry, growing up, and real life passions. Downloads and more around the bend.

In the relatively sunny weather these past couple weeks, the throwback, sample-heavy beats and quick wit on Brooklynati have been in regular rotation over here. Although I’m partial to the indirect nod to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Rap Promoters” in Tanya Morgan’s “Don’t U Holla,” as well as singalong lead-off “On Our Way,” I was glad to see that I’m able to point readers to “Never Enough,” which is definitely among the prime cuts on Brooklynati.

“Never” is overwhelmingly bright — the loops backing a shimmering melody from North Carolina vocalist Carlitta Durand shift into quick trumpet bursts and a mischievous bass line for the verses on this one, while the emcees tackle the ins and outs of father-son love, casual couplings, and general relationship woes. It’s still a modest-sounding beat, but plays a lot cleaner than the lo-fi productions on Tanya Morgan’s ’06 smart debut Moonlighting. I reviewed that one for Remix when it dropped, and I had the inclination that these kids were goin’ places. “Never Enough” reminds me of the standout Foreign Exchange Connected LP (my admittedly clunky review here), to which TM MC/producer Von Pea contributed — if you get the chance, check out that album as well as Von Pea’s rework of Jay-Z’s American Gangster.

Brooklynati is pushed as a concept record, but the running theme, on which the main players don’t hammer much, is unimportant in the scope of what else is going on here — this is a solid outing from a crew I imagine you’ll be hearing a great deal about this year.

  • Right click to download “Never Enough” here.
  • Download a Brooklynati “mega mix” here.
  • Check out NYC’s Fat Beats to buy the record and watch a video.
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