OaK PaRk : 92105
In an increasingly long string of releases from Tonéx, the OaK PaRk : 92105 double CD set ranks as yet another 'must-have' from the Nureau innovator.
Released as an underground joint directly from the Nureau studio, and devoid of any track listing, credits, liner notes or other accompanying information, this mega-set might be considered mysterious in more ways than one.
But for anyone who's kept tabs on the San Deigo prodigy over the years, there's no mystery. Tonéx's creativity seemingly knows no bounds, and so it shouldn't come a surprise that shock and awe are elements of this recording.
The artist classifies his album into two sections, the first disk titled 'San Diego City' and the second, 'San Deigo County'.
The concept here is a journey into the Tonéx's life growing up in the Oak Park community nestled in the eastern tip of southeast San Diego, California.
Tackling a wide range of issues common to man, he addresses them in his usual candor perhaps more candor than might be expected if your only experience of Tonex is from recent projects available in traditional retail.
Joining in the mix are several production collaborators from the West coast, including The Wyzeguyz (take note, you will no doubt be hearing things from this team soon). Also appearing are some superb guest vocalists that will keep you guessing till the break of dawn.
We won't even attempt the impossible by trying to describe each and every track. Not only are there just too many to do that, the depth of each, both musically and lyrically, makes it impractical.
That being said, here are some highlights:
Things start off with a diverse introductory cut, hip hop in flava but laced with several styles. Call it a preview to the entire project.
Songs such as "What Do I Do Now" and "I'm Out of Control" plump the depths of what we all go through in dealing with one sin or another, struggling to remain pure, and then to deal with the inevitable guilt when temptation is yeilded to once again. Soft piano and Tonex's signature vocals mark both songs, with a female duet in the former, and strains of "Make Me Over" in the background of the latter.
Things get atmospheric and dreamy, with reverb and drip drop effects alongside harp on "Sometimes", a song about despair, tears and pain to the point of not feeling like going to church on Sunday morning.
The answer to this in the similarly styled followup cut "Pain", which Tonex uses to explain that 'God knows about your pain', and offers encouragement that the 'weeping may endure for a night', and that 'joy will come in the morning'.
Pounding the club circuit will be the cut "Insanity", with its innovative clangy guitar in the faded background and Tonéx' rapid rap on top with some breathy harmonies moving into forefront by fade.
The followup "Blue Moodring" has Tonéx digging into a serious 70's feel, almost psychadelic in nature. Feel the colors spinning.
"I Found Love" pushes a heavy, memorific vibe as Tonéx tells the wonders of Jesus' love. The artist dares (and succeeds) in adding a brief yodel segment (that's right, yodelling. Think Switzerland). It's an East coast hip hop pounder that brings in production specialists JorJaBlack and also R&B crooner Montell Jordan for a guest spot.
Toss in the usual diversity (old school church cuts such as "One Sunday Morning" and the layered "When My Words R Few" that Tonéx handles just as expertly as the head-bangers), and let there be no doubt at all: OaKPaRk: 92105 is a zip code that you need to investigate.
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Producer: Tonex and friends
album release date: late 2003
review by Stan North —
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