Google T.Shirt and see what comes up. You get a whole lot of what you’d expect except if you were looking for the emcee from Queens. If you do make it to his bandcamp page, you’ll find what can be described as the jocularity of ODB (Wu-Tang Clan) and the down to earth aspect of Slug (Atmosphere) rolled into one man. Yeah, his voice sounds like he perpetually needs to hock a loogie. And yeah, his cadence almost makes it seems like he’s slightly behind the beat. But don’t get it twisted. His flow is tight and his rhymes are on point. With a collection of free mixtapes to his credit, Rich Hours marks his first album with a price-tag on it.
T.Shirt isn’t about rapping his ass off about how many bottles of champagne he can pop or how many foreign luxury cars he can house in his garage. He’s about getting on the mic, showing how smooth and rough he can be at the same time, and getting off. On Rich Hours, he wants to tell personal stories while letting some steam off regarding life outside the recording booth. “Audio Porno” is a classic example of a rapper’s ability to mix fiction with nonfiction. During what the “papers called one of the coolest robberies ever,” the sight of one bystander triggers childhood memories for T.Shirt and brings him back to the start of his path down the criminal drain. One female in a midnight blue dress that seemed to be doing everything just for T.Shirt distracts him from the alarm and the impending arrival of the cops. His lyrics put you right there, wherever there is. It could have been a club or a restaurant or a concert. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you feel just as entranced with the girl in the midnight blue dress as T.Shirt was in that moment.
And in the wise words of Chief Keef, here’s some shit that T.Shirt don’t like: hearing you talk about that thing you thought you should tell him based on a nothing you know about him (“Kick Rocks”), keeping things bottled up (“Sound Off”), and criticizing him for using the highly charged word, nigga (“The Word Nigga”). One moot topic in Rap that may never go away is the usage of any form of the word, nigger. T.Shirt takes on an interesting stance on the term. He brings out good points about asking us to look closer at how kids are being raised and addressing this topic doesn’t mean we need to ignore a culture and its history. His solution is to let racism “live in a racist heart” and start to create a post racist society. So for T.Shirt, instead of sitting around and debating whether an antiquated term now used among exclusive circles (i.e.: rappers, young Blacks, racists), we should be moving past it and eliminating the real, original roots of racism.
I’ll let T.Shirt close out this review, because in reality, don’t we all want to feel this way?:
I named the album RICH HOURS because more and more I consider my time here well spent. I heard Cam once talk about his money year, the year everything changes I assume. I haven’t had one yet but there are these days I feel rich. Rich with passion, rich in blessings, in friends, in talent, in love, in motherfucking gall. Just rich.
3.5 / 5 bars
Guest post by Bryan H.