Album: Analyse This
Label: Def Jam UK
Rating: 6 / 10
23 year old UK rapper Taz who was a former member of the garage scene that Dizzee Rascal and Wiley were once major players in, has released his debut solo album. If you haven’t already heard of him let me fill you in with what he has been busying himself with over the past 2 years. He has already made a name for himself through his production of Dizzee Rascal’s Mercury Award winning album “Boy In Da Corner”, and is currently signed to Def Jam UK.
The style of Taz’s album however is noticeably different to that of Dizzee Rascal’s – for starters you can understand what he is saying pretty much straight away which makes it easier to relate his lyrics. Dizzee Rascal’s album seems to be a bit more garage influenced while Taz seems to use a more Americanized style… however both albums still sound fresh and original. Taz is in no way the typical English wannabe American rapper, the like of which seems to be becoming far too common these days – he has his own unique lyrical style and he’s not afraid to use it! If you have heard Dizzee Rascal’s album then you would know what a unique piece of material it is – the same cannot quite be said for Taz’s album however, it is unique in it’s own right but not quite in the same way as Dizzee’s. However there can be no mistaking the great lyrical talent of Taz,
“As I verbally kill a beat, my music allows me to speak, take me to places where I could never reach, how can they judge nor preach, how can a foolish man teach a wise mans words are like a suit of armour.”
This album definitely has its share of outstanding tunes, but several others lack that little bit of extra spark. After a few songs you begin to get the gist of what Taz is about – he talks a lot about mistrust and trying to make it in the music scene, and too many of the tracks seem to have the same sombre atmosphere about them. This doesn’t stop them from being decent enough but after the fourth song about the same kind of things it can get a bit dull. While half of the album can be summed up in this way, the rest of the album however is excellent, with the best song being his debut single ‘Can’t Contain Me’. This song contains without a doubt the best beat on the album, a mix of energetic and heavy bass, and probably some of the best lyrics too and shows the best of Taz.
“Me fall off? I gotta hold my breath I got too much to say I can’t contain myself, y’all can’t prove I dint remain myself, you trying too hard you might strain yourself. It’s only right I progress my flow, cos everybody knows I’m the next to blow, you can’t say I never told you so!”
The next song I would definitely rate very highly is ‘Flow Pro’, which contains a great cockney accent in the chorus (“Av had enaaff blad!”). He talks about the weaknesses in the UK music scene with the fake wannabe American rappers, and Taz demonstrate what separates him from them. It’s really humorous and witty but it’s also a real song that reflects a general feeling among the UK rap scene.
“It makes me laugh when I hear some of these mix tapes, you think your Yankee blood you need to get your mind straight, and your accent mate, its all nonsense, you know it to yourself you can hear it in your conscience.”
Two more of my favourites would definitely be ‘Cowboy Film’ and ‘Just Walk’. These songs are aimed at the ladies, the first one in a positive way the second a more negative song. ‘Cowboy Film’ is the typical sex song that any rap album just couldn’t do without, and he doesn’t do a bad job at it at all. ‘Just Walk’ is a really funny song basically telling gold digging girls where to go. It has a catchy tune and despite being a female myself I can see the funny side to it.
“You think I’m droppin you home? You better a bring a train cos your gonna walk on your own, So, so I don’t care about how your nice ass is, jus tell Tony Blair and his petrol crisis! (“But I wanna get home quick”). Then walk fast bitch!”
The final song, which I would almost put up there with ‘Can’t Contain Me’, is ‘Imagine This’. This is probably the deepest song on the album; it uses some really smooth vocals in the chorus. And it paints a really clear picture of London Council Estates; it’s so well described you can almost smell the piss in the alleyways. It addresses serious issues such as the overcrowding of housing estates and the amount of crime and poverty.
“I mean things can get raw, when there’s little opportunity in life, and your living is poor, collectors wanna kick down your door, repossess your stuff til you feel like you cant take no more, then a bright light shines through and guess what? There’s no more grey skies they’ve all gone blue. When a glimmer of hope appears, That’s when you realise life moves on, let go of your fears… It’s a joke living in a block full of rats, In the hallways infested with junkies and cats. Right now I’ve only got one wish, that the stairs and alleyways stop smelling of piss.”
Somehow despite this very… rosy picture of piss soaked hallways and such, Taz seems to be able to bring in a view about the warmth and the love that you can feel despite the cold hardships of living in such a place. The sort of song that can give you chills down your neck and a fuzzy warm feeling when you listen to it carefully enough.
Overall a pretty good album, it has an overall quite mellow atmosphere but there’s plenty of jokes and intelligent lyrics to keep your ear glued to it for a while. This album really makes Taz’s talent shine out and if you have any interest in the UK hip-hop scene then I would suggest you hear it and experience it yourself.