Tha Last Street Preacha
Rap veteran T-Bone slams back into the scene with a high-riding, fast-paced and supremely tight project that demonstrates that this Latina rapper is rejuvenated and remains on the forefront of hip hop innovation.Producers: Chase Gigante, T-Bone
album release date: February 27, 2001
Since his last original album (Life Of A Hoodlum), T-Bone has seen changes that include a new record label (his own BoneYard Records in a joint release with alternative-focused Flicker Records), a prominent accolade as a finalist on MTV’s "The Cut", hosting TBN’s Real Videos and a guest MC appearance with Kirk Franklin at the 2000 ALMO Music Awards.
But the most significant difference, and the change that he credits with propelling him back into the recording and touring scene, is a renewed heart for ministry. Brash and in your face, this rapper speaks from years of experiencing the negative side of the Gospel industry.
His ministering heart is all over this CD, and hence the title of this thoroughly West Coast street project and the dominant theme throughout "We ‘bout the Great Commission movement, man". He even confronts the fronters in Gospel rap who put entertainment and crowd bumpin’ over ministry, as he lyrically jabs on “Up On Game”.
T-Bone has the credibility to say this (and more), not solely as a result of his ten years of experience in the industry, but because of the sheer quality of his beats and the gel of his flow. Collaborating with producer Chase Gigante serves him well, as the tracks are consistently on point and one with the message.
Looking back to the hard hitting style he’s known for, T-Bone delivers multiple doses of godly gangsta stylings (“Street Life”, “Friends”, “Nuttin’ 2 Somethin’”). But those new party anthems he’s got are what really kick this project into hip hop overdrive.
He knows who to turn to for that extra high five octane hooks, as Dawkins and Dawkins are brought in on a couple of occasions. Eric delivers on “Getcha Hands Up”, compelling you to “bouncing like a cheque that doesn’t got no funds”, as T-Bone vocalizes and raps with scintillating string synths underneath. Voice box from Wali Ali Jr. adds to the side to side sway of the fun-loving jeeper, “Ride Wit Me”.
The brothers Dawkins are also on the smooth sounds of “Father Figure” a bilingual track in which T honors his natural father by appreciating the tribulations, protection and faith-infusing attitude that brought the family through.
The hip-hop experimentation continues with “Conversion”, as T-Bone stokes it with reggae chant vocalizing, while “Wipe Your Tears” is a T-Bone ”thug with harmony” track that takes off thanks to studio mastery that heaps T’s stacked vocals on top of his flow stylings and liberally spices with tight patters of Spanish rhymes and creative vocal rhythms lines.
Put The Last Street Preacha in a category all its own. Star it, and love it. Because if you listen, you really have no other choice.
BoneYard Records / Flicker Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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