T-K.A.S.H. - Turf War Syndrome

By Thomas Quinlan, Exclaim!

Bay Area rapper T-K.A.S.H. built a foundation for himself within the unpopular hip-hop subgenre of revolutionary rap with guest appearances on the Coup's Party Music and Steal This Album (along with its double-album re-release) and Public Enemy's Rebirth of a Nation. And if that's not recommendation enough, Paris also has T-K.A.S.H.'s back; Turf War Syndrome was not only released on Paris's Guerrilla Funk label, but the Black Panther of rap also provides the album with a minimalist version of his established G(uerrilla)-funk sound, and makes an appearance on the title track as one of the album's two guests - Boots Riley's appearance on the long version of "American Nightmare" is the other one. So, it should be no surprise to find that T-K.A.S.H.'s debut album chronicles the tragedy and redemption of street life, giving voice to the underrepresented in the process. It's a call for action; and perhaps a call for armed revolution, if necessary. However, while T-K.A.S.H. is a skilled rapper with an ability to flip his flows and thus maintain interest in the hard truths he is relating, Paris's production relies too much on the drama created from slower, mellower sounds and doesn't really give T-K.A.S.H. enough to work with; plus it gets boring fast, which is too bad. With more fist-pumping, face-stomping production, Turf War Syndrome might have been an effective call for action.

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