Written by Angelo Gingerello
Binghamton NY’s Tone Chop and Frost Gamble both have long and storied histories in Upstate New York’s Hip-Hop scene and after years of paying dues both together and separately they aim to prove why the term Veteran applies to them on their new collaborative project.
At seven tracks Veteran is a short listen (about 20 minutes) which is both a gift and a curse, it avoids the overstuffed “Nobody is buying music anymore anyway so we might as well throw in every remix, freestyle and throwaway track on the album” mentality of some recent projects, but at the same time it leaves listeners wanting more at the conclusion of its’ very short runtime. The guest list includes underground MC’s Like Awful P, S One, DJ Waximillion and Boot Camp Clik affiliate Ruste Jux and Nobi on lead single “Better with Time.” While it would be nice to hear Tone rhyme alongside a more diverse group of artists on a longer project, given the record’s limited run time, it’s cool to hear him get ample time to shine in his own right.
The production on Veteran is easily one of the EP’s highlights. All of the beats sound like 90’s Boom Bap that could have been released on Funk Master Flex or Ron G mixtapes when they were still released on cassette. In addition to the classic era sounding backdrop, many of the beats contain vocal samples from all-time great MC’s. This melding of past and present is best displayed on “Back in the Day” that reworks Ahmad’s 1994 classic “Back in the Day” with a harder edge and a different perspective to give the song an entirely new life.
Veteran starts with “Dedication” where Tone name checks a long list of his favorite MC’s and reminisces to a time when “You used to play a tape, a record or a disk and play the whole thing, and wouldn’t even have to skip” and with Veteran he’s created one of the projects that will allow you to do that in 2016.
Best Songs: “Dedication,” “Back in the Day,” “Better with Time feat. Ruste Juxx and Nobi”
Perfect For: Hip-Hop Heads fiendin’ for straight forward bars & beats Hip-Hop
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