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Big Tone – The Drought

“The Drought is my Illmatic; it’s my Reasonable Doubt,” professes Big Tone, the Detroit MC whose debut solo album on ABB Records aims to fill a big spot in these congested rap waters. Already sporting an extensive discography, appearing on tracks with the likes of Jay Dee, Slum Village, and his own super group Wasted Youth, Tone’s solo effort picks up where his “Partycrasher” single and EarCandy EP left off. What’s more, he’s produced the entire effort by himself.


The Drought goes a long way toward establishing Tone’s place among the elite of Detroit rap. Although Dwele is the only one to make a guest appearance on the catchy “What’s Up/ Intamacy,” you can feel his influence as well as Slum, and others. However, as a member of the larger rap collective, Tone doesn’t quite live up to the standard. Don’t get it twisted, the production here is very well-conceived and the songs are inspired, but they just don’t play as well outside the confines of the Detroit neighborhoods once ruled by this upstart MC/ Producer. This said, “Come My Way” has that melodic, Detroit groove working for it, while “Girl,” riding the back beat of a beatbox along with vocals by singer Deion Lucas, succeeds off its tidy bass line and its lyrics which extol the virtues of a good woman. “Good Ole Days” is about what you’d expect lyrically, but this Motor City inspired jam does well bringing you into the city and environment where the artist spent his formative years.

To continue, the album is surprising mellow for the rawness that is Tone’s delivery. This means that it works best over the rougher mixes of tracks like the percussion driven “One Hour Session,” and the old school sample-powered “Peace.” The very raw, live feel of “Respect” is a welcomed change of pace. If you are a fan of Detroit’s alum like Slum Village and producer Jay Dee, then you will definitely want this record. If, on the other hand, you’re more of a Royce Da 5’9,” Eminem or D-12 listener, this one ain’t for you.


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