A Tribe Called Red – [Album]

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

As perfectly rich and varied as the musical spectrum has proven to be thus far in the twenty-first century, albums like Nation II Nation still stand out because they're completely unlike everything else on the pop music spectrum. If you doubt it – if you really think you've heard everything music (and especially hip hop) has to offer – then you haven't heard A Tribe Called Red. As over-developed and refined as hip hop has become over the last couple of decades, A Tribe Called Red represents a genuinely fresh and previously unheard voice. The three emcees (Daniel General, Ehren Thomas and Ian Campeau) are card-carrying (literally) Native Americans and the music they're making on this record is a modern tribute to their heritage – while some emcees might chronicle “Thug Life” and call it old school, this music is the real deal; this is hip hop, Six Nations style.

As exciting as that turn has the potential to be, it doesn't mean listeners will be able to fall right into Nation II Nation. There will still be more than a bit of confusion clouding listeners' minds as the native vocalizations in songs like “Bread & Cheese,” “NDN stakes” and “Electric Intertribal” wrap around listeners and overwhelm them, but it won't take long for listeners to get acclimated to the different approach. After they do get acclimated, listeners will begin to recognize how perfectly the vocal rhythms of each song intertwine intertwine with the heavy beats which drive them and really streamline the sound; while it's true that the meaning of each song is not perfectly apparent, they all hit listeners on a very basic and primal level which it impossible to ignore.

After they give themselves over to the music, that's when they'll really begin to see the beauty and raw emotion of Nation II Nation. In “The Road,” for example, listeners will begin to feel a sense of detachment and introspection overtake them, while the swagger of “Different Heroes” proves to be perfectly infectious as the treated tribal singing tries to rewrite the bodily rhythms of listeners. It is worth pointing out that the common themes of “guns,” :bitches” and “money” which are so often found in the hip hop paradigm appear nowhere in this run-time (at least, not recognizably), but they're not missed much because A Tribe Called Red cast a different kind of spell which is more elemental in feel, and it can fill listeners up all on its own.

In the end, listeners will feel so filled up by Nation II Nation and totally interested to experience the vibe of it again, but no one could mistake it for the same kind of sensation that gets left by other emcees. In fact, because it is performed in a tongue that few listeners off the reservation can understand, it might be more universal; this music touches the heart, not the mind.



A Tribe Called Red's first album can be downloaded for free directly from the band here .


Nation II Nation
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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