To find out that T Bizzy isn’t from New York but actually from Northern Michigan came as a bit of a shock I can tell you. There is something in the sound that he has cultivated, something in the aggression, the weight of delivery, the streetwise swagger, the no-nonsense approach that had me thinking, Queens or Brooklyn? To me, a Brit with only limited knowledge of the modern urban scene, I would have put money on Mr B. Having a few Beastie Boys albums tucked away somewhere. Maybe he has. From Scratch certainly echoes with their spirit.
And it’s that golden age of rap sound that stands out on much of the music, particularly on opening salvo Wolf and the attitude drenched Public Enemy No.1. But this is no mere plagiaristic trawl through nostalgic glory days, this is an artist studying the past to build today’s sound as a way of heading into the future. And possibly defining it. Broken Glass is all lyrical edge and visceral sonics, Radar is backed up by lush and threatening walls of sound, musical depth and weighted resonance and the title track takes a more chilled, angular and staccato approach to the rap template.
It’s a cool run through rap past, rap present and rap future. It’s an album which knows where its genre has been but, more importantly, knows where it is going. No sleep ‘till Michigan? Absolutely!