One can never forget the eternal legacy of New York when it comes to the game of hip hop. The genre’s roots run deep but they always trace back to this city when one connects the dots. The game has changed for sure and it will always be ever-changing, a commonality seen in all forms of arts, but there will always be periods of time that will standout the most when studied. And for hip hop that is undoubtedly its golden age which ran from the late 1980s through the 1990s. Why this brief history you may ask? It’s because its good to understand one’s origins and when looking to Tone Chop (MC) and his partner in crime Frost Gamble (producer), they unequivocally know their hip hop history when listening to their EP titled Veteran.
Tone Chop and Frost Gamble were once rivals in upstate New York’s rap battle scene but have since linked up. Veteran is their first official collaborative project and it serves as a warm up for an album they have upcoming in 2017. But how does this collaborative EP fare for these gents you may ask? Well let me tell you…
Veteran is a 7 track EP and it is a very healthy dose of an introduction to this duo that’ll run you along the lines of a half hour or so when giving it a listen. It’s a healthy dose indeed, which warrants multiple listens because these guys brought me back to the golden age I spoke of in my introduction.
Tone Chop’s voice is excellent and it has that gruff ruggedness which was so popular in the game but really has since been long forgotten. He starts off the EP with the track titled “Dedication” and it does what it says on the box. The track is a dedication, an ode if you will, to virtually the entire span of the golden age of hip hop from the point of its inception to its end. There are excellent samples aplenty and lyrics that’ll bring you back. But I warn you… your hip hop IQ will DEFINITELY be tested. If you don’t recognize all the names and quotables they drop, I suggest you do your homework if you want to remain a fan of the game.
Track 2 of the EP is titled “Back in the Days” and it has the exact chorus of the classic 1994 West Coast track of the same name by Ahmad. For most young men, this track is very relatable when hearing Tone Chop spit on the days of his youth when he was a punk (more or less) to becoming an adult and most importantly a father. Growing up is never easy, but one should heed its lessens wisely, as Tone Chop lets us know.
Track 3 is titled “Other Shit” and this is a very tough track and one of my favorites. Excellent production and Awful P’s feature is great. He has quite the voice of his own and with a hard flow to go along with it. Can’t go wrong with him and Tone Chop as a lyrical duo.
“Better with Time” serves as track 4 and features DJ Waxamillion and S.One. What stood out to me the most on this track was the sax in the production which was a nice throw back. The last three tracks, “One Two”, “Leave It Alone” (featuring Ruste Juxx and Nobi) and “Step Up” are boastful ones to say the least. Tone Chop makes it clear that he is in the game to slay and already considers himself to be at the top with amongst the greats like Tupac and Biggie. He’s ready to take on what comes his way and isn’t afraid of making the claim that the rap game is already his.
Veteran by Tone Chop and Frost Gamble is available now on iTunes via Seven 13 Music & Entertainment and you can click HERE to purchase it now. If you are a fan of the golden age and miss it like I do, I suggest you show your support and pick it up ASAP.
I look forward to what Tone Chop and Frost Gamble have in store for us in 2017.