Tanya Morgan - Rubber Souls

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"Rubber Souls" is a valiant comeback and solid mission statement. Backed by 6th Sense, Von Pea and Donwill belabor the grind without wallowing in self-pity.

Tanya Morgan began as a novelty.

“Who is she, a singer?”

“Wait … it’s a … it’s a Rap group?!”

Their 2006 full-length debut, Moonlighting, fed into that storyline: A guy walks into a record store (remember those?) and asks about the song being played. He thinks it’s too vulgar and wants something cleaner. The record store clerk sells him a cassette of some act named Tanya Morgan.

“This is hot,” the clerk says. “She’s a solo artist.”

The tape changes hands three times before it’s eventually sold back to the record store. Yet that’s the charm of Tanya Morgan: in an instant, the duo chides overdone Rap themes; the next, they can make fun of themselves without sounding gimmicky. On Rubber Souls, Tanya Morgan’s first album in four years, Von Pea and Donwill are no longer the scrappy upstarts looking for attention. Instead, they’re the grizzled veterans trying to assess their progress so far. Have they done enough to matter in the long run?

At times, they’re not sure. “They say I rock like it’s ’94,” Von Pea raps on “For Real,” Rubber Souls’ atmospheric opening track. “But I don’t know if that’s some kinda flaw.” “Is it worth it, yo?” a jaded Donwill asks moments later. “You ever wake up and wonder what it’s worth at all?” Clearly, Von and Don are tired of the rat race. They don’t like the current state of Hip Hop, but they love the genre too much to give up. Through it all, the emcees belabor the grind without wallowing in self-pity. Sure, they want wider recognition for their work, but they’re sticking to their guns regardless.

The album isn’t too heavy, though. We get the same comic relief we’ve come to expect on Tanya Morgan releases. “Ya aunt got a big ass Android phone,” Von claims at one point, “with my picture as her screensaver.” At the beginning of “More,” Von wants your kids to study instruments now so they can play his music some day (“we usin’ young bands so we can look hip ‘n’ shit … Von Isley”). “Never Too Much,” featuring Nitty Scott, MC, provides an optimistic jolt to the contemplative proceedings. Even the obligatory girl jawn—“All Em,” with its repurposed Tribe Called Quest lyric—fits well within the album’s nostalgic premise.

Sonically, the instrumentals are as vital as the lyrics they support; 6th Sense does a great job of setting the scene with spacey electro-funk (“Pick it Up”) and cascading drums (“Worldmade”). Elsewhere, he reaches for other genres: just when you think “The Day I” is over, 6th Sense adds gentile piano keys and soothing strings to the mix, establishing an unexpectedly classical blend. It all adds up to one impressive album, especially since the group’s been in flux the past couple years. Rapper Ilyas, a member of Tanya Morgan for its first two LPs, left the crew in 2011. During that time, it was unclear if Rubber Souls would even come out. This is a valiant comeback and solid mission statement. They’ve done great things after all.      



  • carAnthony

    Way too good for the kids...

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  • nah, B

    Better off back on the OkayPlayer Boards. Fake-ass Little Brother.

  • bizzalls

    Oh yeah, !llmind and Marco Polo are newer producers who are actually pretty good. They're not great! But they're better than most. But still not good enough.

  • bizzalls

    6th Sense's beats are pretty good. But at the same time, Im just like, this shit is kinda corny, too soft-sounding. I know it's Tanya Morgan, but still. I just feel like hip hop is lacking in quality, diverse, production nowadays. There just aren't enough good producers anymore. I'm talking mostly new generation producers. Most are just average. Statik Selektah? FOH. Apollo Brown? Ehh. Harry Fraud? Sucks. I just don't know where the quality went. Premier needs to stop fucking around and put some fucking albums out! I mean, his Goddamn record label is called Year Round Records, and I haven't heard a release from them in years!!! WTF is he doing??

  • T Dot

    I will never understand why so many people sleep on Tanya Morgan, there dope

  • Anonymous

    that video is so corny. It made me away from this album. are these niggas serious?

  • Anonymous

    god Kanye West hates white ppl

  • Gucci Mane Special Forces

    Gucci Mane = realest rapper ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - T.I. snitch to the feds - Young Jeezy was never bmf - 50 Cent snitch and was never in jail but a youthcamp - Game was never a banger but lived the life of his brother in his lyrics - Nas Escobar never sold drugs - Ice Cube never was a gangbanger - Dr Dre never was a gangbanger - 2pac was a ballerina and never sold drugs after he become famous he was doing some stupid stuff like beating and shooting at people because he though he could get away with it. Without Suge Knight 2pac was just a skinny motherfucker. Oh and i like his music so fuck you. - Mobb deep are the biggiest pussies in rap they are short as midgets and keep talking this g shit but never did g shit.

  • racism is over

    God I hate n i g g e r s

  • The Quintessential Hater

    Wow these dudes are cornballs. Not only are their verses and flows fucking garbage, but they jacked the title of a CLASSIC BEATLES ALBUM. Its not paying homage when YOU SUCK ASS AT YOUR CRAFT. NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christopher

    This was a wonderful review for a fantastic release.

  • hrmm

    zzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • son of a sax

    VERY solid album!!! Tanya Morgan definatley sets standards in todays hip hop lanscape. With De La type concepts and approach to songs and Slum Village back drop of beats. You can't lose.

  • Rain

    You guys keep sleeping on TM, their catalog is better than most rap groups! Even though I like Brooklynati more than this lp, I still think this was a good album as well.

  • barrydavillain

    Finally here and it's dope, has a good mix of soulful beats and new innovation. Tight lyric and it's a win!