TY : Awkward

TY : Awkward

Score

London's Britrap hopeful TY drops his brilliant debut after seven years at the forefront of the UK underground...

If good things come to those who wait then London’s seasoned rapper TY must be sitting pretty. After seven years at the forefront of the UK underground – including a still-working partnership with Shortee Blitz plus innumerable skits with some of hip-hop’s finest – the man finally graces us with his first long player.

TY’s far too optimistic for anything spooky. His jazz-peppered, quasi-R&B musings are more Gang Starr than gangster. The liquid silk rhythms of ‘Trippin’ Over Words’ and ‘Hercules’ (a riposte to the bully at TY’s primary school) may cherish those old-skool jazz-hop sensibilities but there’s a great pride in the universal, myriad sounds of blackness here.

‘The Nonsense’ owes more of a debt to Gil Scott-Heron than Raekwon while the brilliant ‘Zaibo’ is a celebration of cultural differences with a whole host of guests including Lo aka Loney. The result is akin to the Boys Bhundu and Beastie jamming together at Carnival.

The principal, mutually

inclusive feelgood factor sets matters straight. In fact, with such a soulful spread, TY could easily be Wyclef Jean’s transatlantic counterpart if the market men ever get their grubby paws on him. Whether he would jeopardise

that essential ghetto perspective is, of course, an entirely different matter.

Darren Johns