When you listen to A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul, you can expect to hear some of those old-school jazz loops. You can expect wittiness and you can bet that you are going to think a little. You may not expect the same thing from a young producer/rapper from Atlanta. But expectations are a dangerous thing, and Atlanta hip-hop collective Nobody Really Knows (NRK) proves this. Rapper/producer Tyler Major makes music that easily fits in this vein, but it is not beholden to expectations. It is a convention that Major is clearly playing with and adding his own spin to.
Major stated that he wanted to make an album that demonstrated his love of 90s-era hip-hop. As such, he delivered on that promise. “Lavish life is deceitful,” Tyler Major spits in “Relapse,” the opening track on The Suburbia EP. The name of the EP should stand as the first clue in the artist’s intention. Those aren’t words that would expect to hear from a rapper who isn’t even legal to drink alcohol. Instead, you would most likely expect to experience dreams that might embody some of those lavish lifestyles. After all, don’t most of us dream of lifestyles of the rich and famous at that point in life? That’s the where beauty of Major lies. Over a piano-heavy beat, Major delivers a positive message, voicing his desire to reach an audience in a different kind of way and letting us know his true feelings about a major label (“Fuck a major record label deal, I’m spittin knowledge. I’m on some other shit that makes drug dealers go to college.”)
Just when you thought you had Tyler Major pegged, he follows up The Suburbia EP with White Light Synopsis, a mainly instrumental album that features some of the spacey hallmarks shown and favored by other members of NRK, especially Hal Williams. Major stated in a forthcoming interview here that his favorite beat he ever authored was “She’s In Groove’s Possession.” And with a cinematic title like that, you could easily imagine the beat soundtracking a Halle Berry film. (And no, I am not sure why Halle Berry was the first actress that popped into my head.) Either way, the instrumentals prove to be just as strong as the worded work. Major promises to combine the two on his next project.
On an unrelated note: How great of a rap name is Tyler Major? Mr. Major claims it is given legal name. And with a moniker like that, how could you not be a fantastic lyricist and beatmaker?
Connect with Tyler Major // Twitter
Tyler Major // Relapse [mp3] from The Suburbia EP