tabi Bonney - A Place Called Stardom

Posted May 26, 2010
Tags: tabi Bonney,

Fittingly considering Obama’s presence, after years of neglect there is an air of optimism...

A Place Called Stardom Album Review

Fittingly considering Obama’s presence, after years of neglect there is an air of optimism and hope in the air for the DMV’s hip-hop scene, although Obama can’t be credited with the rise of the region’s prominence (even he’s not that good). Instead, it’s Wale who’s blazed the trail from D.C. to the mainstream spotlight, but while Olubowale’s rise to prominence has certainly heralded a brighter day for DMV artists – the mere fact that we know it doesn’t stand for Dept. of Motor Vehicles is impressive - no one’s joined him on the national stage yet. Could tabi Bonney be the next DMC rhyme-spitter to blow? In a word; maybe.

Bonney certainly has the backstory to make journalists beg for an interview. Born in the little known West African country of Togo, Bonney is the son of an afro-funk legend Itadi Bonney. He’s used his musical genes and outsized ambition to become a mainstay of the local scene over the last few years. Now, having gained a more wide spread fan base as of late, tabi has released what could be considered a Bonney primer, A Place Called Stardom, a collection of some of his best previous work along with new tracks. Will Bonney ever truly find himself in a place called stardom? Let’s explore…

If we’re getting caught up on tabi, we might as well start with his breakthrough hit The Pocket. Pocket brings together three elements that almost always guarantee success: an addictive beat, new slang and heavily stylized lyrics. More than simply being catchy, Pocket is an exemplar of tabi’s heavily electronic, stripped down style, a style that works to dope effect on The Feeling. One of the hardest tracks on A Place Called Stardom, The Feeling brings in Buckshot & GZA to join tabi over a gritty/trippy beat courtesy of Marco Polo. And as long as we’re talking about killer collabs, we have to mention You Turn Me On, a steamy, Asian-influenced cut featuring Jovi Rockwell, and Rock Bammas, a fearlessly pounding joint that Bonney and Haziq turn into a certified head-nodder. If you’ve got ears and a soul, A Place Called Stardom has at least one track that will get you excited.

tabi has said, “You either get my music or you don’t. Most followers won’t dig it until everybody else likes it; in the meantime, they don’t know what to do,” a sentence that serves as a preemptive strike against criticism. Anyone who has a negative word can be written off as a follower who just doesn’t get it. Of course, there are no shortage of haters who deserve to be summarily dismissed, but it’s also completely possible to have an open mind, wish Bonney nothing but success and still not connect strongly with his music. In all honesty, I would have to count myself in that group. I think it’s his often monotone rhyme style that does it. For example, Radio is a tremendously catchy track that calls for smoothly flowing verses, but tabi delivers a drippingly slow, calm flow that drags down the track’s energy. In fact, tabi’s cadence and delivery are incredibly consistent, a usually positive quality that can become tiring over the course of an entire album. His work on the brightly clapping Blinding sounds a lot like his rhymes on the rocking Spark, which sound a lot like his vocals on You. tabi and his army of loyal followers are free to feel otherwise, but there’s nothing hateful about wanting to hear a more dynamic flow from the man.

I don’t have to imagine what tabi would say to me in response, since he's already said it with Killer People. One of the more up-tempo cuts on A Place Called Stardom, Killer People flips an instantly fresh, rock-influenced beat that tabi and Wale (full-circle) use to expound on what little regard they have for those who would dare stand in their way. Ironically, it’s one of my favorite cuts on the album, and the one that most readily proves Tabi’s potential to take his music to the next level. So, to return to our original question, will we soon be watching Tabi tear up the national stage? I’ll have to stick with my original, completely unsatisfying answer: maybe. It’s far too early to tell, but something tells me tabi is the type to take his destiny into his own hands. So go ahead. Control your future tabi Bonney. Only you can make sure you reach A Place Called Stardom.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

Written by
Posted May 26, 2010
Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Sample Text - Sample Link

More Hip Hop News

Best of DJBooth