I'm going to start off by saying that The Talented Tenth 8.0 is one of my favorite projects of the year.
Real T@lk, a Chicago emcee and poet, is one of the most intelligent lyricists in the game, and proves such throughout a seemingly daunting 21-track mixtape. While it may seem like a lot to digest quantity-wise, there is in fact such a variety of concepts, storytelling, and overall sounds to keep you entertained throughout.
It all begins with your first audio and visual experience. One look at the cover, and you'll see a clear inspiration from W.E.B. Dubois - an inspiration that's carried out in track 1 - one of the more powerful intros I've heard on any project. How could that be? It's simple. Real T@lk cleverly explains who he is and what he's about in, essentially an a capella, that's accompanied by a soothing piano melody. It's a clear nod to his natural spoken word and poetry talents and it's hard not to catch a clever line, even if you're just casually paying attention. Real T@lk has a way of grabbing that attention with his delivery and punctuation.
Where Real T@lk stands out amongst a lot of upcoming rappers is through his wit, lyricism, and storytelling. The latter characteristic, when executed well, is in fact one of my passionate driving forces of why I love hip hop. I love when artists are able to communicate a perspective, whether it be first, second, or third, on a story that I become riveted to follow.
Real T@lk's storytelling is especially on display in "The Lady In The Green Dress" (be weary of the metaphors here), "Showtime!" (Real T@lk's trip on the El Train), "The Heist" (my favorite track if I had to pick one, and one that everyone can relate to), "Jealousy" (a story on some baby mama drama) and "Lonely People" (sampling the classic by some band named The Beatles).
If you're looking to get hyped while also appreciating a good message, then take a listen to the single "Black Dynamite!". This was the conclusion and an instant hit at The Talented Tenth 8.0 listening party we presented with New Era last week (more on this in a future post).
Lastly, The Talented Tenth 8.0 is not just an all-star solo display from Real T@lk. Producers like Authentik Made & Chris Mathien, combined with rap features from Lili K, Dave Coresh, J. Ivy, and Gemstones (who has the other top project of the month) are all top-quality and make for good collabs to keep your ears perked throughout the 21-track opus. The latter third doesn't miss a beat especially, and you certainly won't be remiss if you take the time out today to download and open your ears from the top. Real Talk!
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