A couple of years ago I marveled at the unapologetic sample-jacking of TeV95 on the aptly titled “Crime Loops,” his middle finger to copyright law in a free download form. TeV95 is not a rebel without a cause though – he believes in the right to be artistic, but he’s also producing beats worth listening to. To that end we return a couple of years later with “Delorean,” finding the Brooklyn producer pairing with an up-and-coming Miami emcee. I know how that sounds, especially given that the title of the album references an era of cocaine-laden automotive excess, but Shottie is no Floridian rapper living a V.I.P. lifestyle or bragging about moving (his) weight (ungh). In fact even though Ras Kass is a rap legend and Shottie is a new jack, they share a track called “Skyrider” where he doesn’t get badly sunned. I dare say his shine’s bright:
Shottie: “I got a bitch called +Summer+, chain called Wintertime
Beef gon’ +Spring+ up, and +Fall+ like a fishing line
And all you sharks keep tuggin at the bait hook
Pussy in person, but thuggin on your Facebook (ha!)
Your fiancee on my Twitter page
and you so bitter you reconsidered gettin engaged
You don’t fight, so why talk like you get in the cage?
I don’t write cause my thoughts won’t fit in the page
Uh – I just do what the drums say
TeV program it, I go at it with no lunch break
I ain’t no clock puncher, or a number cruncher
But I do numbers around the clock – what a conundrum!”
Ras Kass: “What they see as my resurgence, I see as my burden
Cause y’all thought whoever went pop was more important
Hard bein the best emcee in the flesh
In a holding pattern experiencing turbulence
But air traffic control can’t stop me soaring
Con-Air condoring, they tried to kick me out the league
I snuck in and outscored them
Linsanity, Korean barbecue I served ’em”
That’s one of the only three guest features on “Delorean” – another being Itagui on “Hollywood,” a song which starts out by openly mocking Rick Ross. TeV95 takes the beat on this one from Brooklyn all the way to Brixton, sporting an Afro-Carribean sound and some appropriate chatta to go with it. The range of sounds that TeV can supply his rap protege with is infinitely diverse. “Baby Baby” sounds like Biggie literally, riding a soul funk backing which could only have come from the 1970’s or early 80’s. “Joe Dumars” is more spartan and piano tinted, with confrontational lyrics like “I ain’t hoppin in planes with Wayne/and I ain’t Kid CuDi buddy/Ain’t fuckin nobody famous and I ain’t nobody’s hubby/So if you don’t know me homey then it’s only cause I don’t be/at the 40/40 actin phony with people that just annoy me.” The most sinister track might be “Closer” though, and that’s the one song with a guest star, by the name of Lidls. The backdrop is so intense that I was expecting a vitriolic cameo by Pharoahe Monch instead.
As a critic it’s my responsibility to point out both the strengths and weaknesses of “Delorean” to you, but I’m having a damned hard time finding any of the latter. Songs like “Legendary Shit” epitomize what I enjoy about this team. It’s only 2:32 long, but they pack a lot of musical quality into that short time span. The harmonized backdrop, the clear and powerful vocal delivery of Shottie, and a playful yet serious delivery that lets him mix in lines like “I used to break into my neighbor house/high as fuck and clean her refrigerator out/fuck a paper route, I was busy makin tapes about/ridin in my Sentra with no radio to play ’em out.” An emcee’s debut probably shouldn’t be THIS good, but then again it only makes sense for TeV95 to be working with somebody who can challenge him to make his best beats. I’d say they succeed at complimenting each other well, and although the word “Delorean” usually implies excess, this album clocks in at a far too short 39 minutes. I hope this is the beginning of a long collaboration.