Album Review: tabi Bonney – Fresh

 |  November 22, 2010
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There’s a lot to be said for tabi Bonney’s grind.  Without a deal, promotion, or a publicist, his video for 2006′s “The Pocket” hit every US music television outlet.  In fact, he is one of the only artists in history to chart on MTV2′s Sucker Free Countdown without a deal.  Needless to say there’s something unique about tabi’s artistry.  With “Nuthin’ But a Hero” constantly rotating on MTV and VH1, the Togo-born emcee has taken his presence beyond the metro DC area and is currently boarding on global superstardom.  His latest album, Fresh, features a myriad of elite guest appearances and well placed production.  Taking the opportunity to touch on a variety of subjects, tabi uses the album as platform to prove to listeners why he is indeed fresh despite years of paying his dues.

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Getting off to a strong start, the reggae-infused beat of “Make A Killing” blasts through the speaker while tabi trades verses with Clipse’s Pusha T.  The song is not only appealing, but proves that Bonney is not playing games.  Arsonal remains behind the boards for the proceeding gem “Get Me.”  With a swag that’s unreal, tabi utilizes a personality that transcends his sometimes rudimentary lyrics.  That’s not to say, tabi never drops anything impressive, as he claims, “even Usain Bolt in real life can’t run me.”  Oddly enough, this beat that was crafted long ago, sound remarkably identical to Lloyd Banks’ hit “Beamer, Benz or Bentley,” which isn’t a negative attribute by any means.  “Radio” takes on an electro vibe, while the hook is quite possibly the catchiest ode to a radio in Hip Hop history.  Between Curren$y’s well fitting guest appearance in which he claims, “I’m in a class all by myself like I was locked inside a school” and tabi’s reference to “Bonita Applebum,” this sounds like a magnificent song to hear at a live performance.  tabi keeps everything electro on the next track, “The Slackers Farewell,” featuring Haziq Ali; however it fails to pack the same punch as the aforementioned song.  Staying beside a synthesizer, tabi invites fellow DC lyricist, Wale, to drop a verse on “Killer People.”  Wale evens the playing field, making it a solid album cut.  On the memorable “Fever,” tabi reverts to production similar to “Get Me.”  Raheem DeVaughn’s vocals make for an enjoyable hook that’s radio worthy, as tabi kicks game with a laidback demeanor.   While tabi’s lyrics aren’t particularly special, they aren’t insupportable and are proper for the song.

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“Go Away” is a pleasant departure from the rest of the album.  Going over an up-tempo instrumental, Bonney speaks on traveling overseas, humorously claiming, “got a monkey for a pet that ain’t never seen a vet” before alluding to transporting cocaine.  The album’s lead single, “Nuthin’ But a Hero” is lively and imaginative.  This is the most introspective look into the mind of tabi on Fresh as he reflects on the over saturation of the entertainment industry, rapping, “everybody out there’s a dreamer/so many rappers and singers/so many ballers and actors/this pretty girl want me to call her/ the power’s so attractive/it makes people jump through hoops and backflips.”  tabi opens “Sunlight” with an interesting quote (“I often think about my tennis shoes/and wonder if they got feelings too/and if they think I’m a shallow dude“).  The relaxing track is one of the best efforts on Fresh for its mood capturing essence.  “Blinding” is another poppy creation from the DC emcee that deserves airtime.  Remaining on relatively the same subject matter, tabi returns to his electro sound with a more braggadocio pulse on “Galaxy.”  The song is moderately forgettable for its cookie-cutter lyrics, but listeners of the farer sex will most likely enjoy this one.  The Oddisee-produced “Winner’s Tourney” illustrates tabi’s musical sensibility, and is another standout.  The song has a somewhat hipster feel, but is nothing outlandish compared to the rest of Fresh. It’s apparent that Arsonal has returned as the producer of “Like a King” due to its overt reggae influence.  Wale makes his return to Fresh, while Kokayi, who appeared on the previous track, returns with another excellent hook.  This time, Wale gets the best of tabi and outshines him in the war of words.  Fresh ends on high note, with the fast paced “Yeah Go.”  Although this might not be the best closing track for album arrangement sake, it’s still a respectable track and worth the listen.

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Fresh is a suitable listen for nearly any musical taste.  Those expecting a wide array of lyricism may be disappointed, but tabi’s personality always shines through.  As expected, Fresh offers a diverse range of sounds and subject matters atypical for a rap album that is so consistently radio friendly.  Almost every song is catchy, well written and beyond the usual fare of drug dealing and murder tales which we so frequently hear from Hip Hop artists.  While Fresh won’t revolutionize music as we know it, it’s a well-rounded album worthy of its title.

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4mics

4.0/5

Pre-order Fresh on iTunes

  • Pateva85

    really 4.0 mics!!!? Better then weezys im not a human being (3 mics) no hate just asking…

  • CEO

    really 4.0 mics!!!? Better then weezys im not a human being (3 mics) no hate just asking?

  • JGerson

    yup…Kanye's coming in a few hrs…there are a lot of albums we've given 4.0 – 4.5 this year…6 of the one's in the viewer received a 4.0 or higher….this has been a really good year for hip hop and a lot of albums are better than Wayne's…that was Wayne's worst album besides the abomination known as “Rebirth”