Tope – Troubleman (EP Review)
Time to introduce a new artist to the site. Tope is an up and coming rapper who is holding it down for Portland, Oregon. He got his start in the world of Hip-Hop while in his teens by making himself known at local showcases and freestyle jams. From there he went on to form two groups: Living Proof with Seattle rapper Prem and the more popular TxE with fellow artists Epp and Calvin Valentine. Additionally, he lent his talents to others in the name of guest appearances and production. As most artists tend to do, Tope eventually struck out on his own. He’s secured a collection of solo projects under his belt that reflect: his musical personality, his knack for rhyming & producing, and his love of Hip-Hop. His solo efforts have also earned him recognition on various media outlets and got him stage time with the likes of: Talib Kweli, Macklemore, Nappy Roots, and more. Now that he’s conquered Portland as well as it’s surrounding areas; Tope is ready to branch out and take on the rest of the world. Hopefully his new EP Troubleman will help him do just that. It’s a nine track offering that centers around: good times, women, and personal situations. It has been described as a testament to Tope’s current level of skill behind the boards as well as on the mic. Find out exactly what the Portland native has to offer after the break.
The production here is good. It is made up of a quiet bass, graceful background components, a smooth tempo, and a tranquil vibe. There is no hook per say. Instead there is a slight break in place that contains soulful harmonies while Tope does a little bit of talking. The verses are on point. Tope utilizes a charming flow, magnetic wordplay, and conventional rhymes. He implies at the beginning of the song that this offering is a sample of his “coffee shop” persona. He conveys it well while discussing his escapades with the opposite sex. A few noteworthy lines are: “Late waking, coffee, eggs, bacon. Now we back in the bed and I got her legs shaking. A couple Ashleys acting all nasty. The beat too pretty. I be trying to keep it classy. See I ain’t trying to look like that. If my sister hear that s–t, she might whoop my a**. It’s that first day of Summer tight. All ya grades straight. Now you gotta get ya numbers right. Ya know, get ya ducks in a row. My friend copped the album but won’t f–k with the show.” Entertaining opening bars right there. Overall, this track is deserving of a spin or two. Those interested can peep the video for this selection at the end of the post.
The production here is decent. The easy going foundation, atmospheric secondary elements, middling pace, and casual vibe work nicely together. The hook is solid. The delivery is clean and the lyrics are straightforward. There is only one verse. The bars are of a fair quality. Tope brings a choice flow, adequate wordplay, and sufficient rhymes. He chronicles the situations that led to the decline of his relationship for the listener. A couple of standout lines include: “You smoke all my weed every time I go to work. Never cook me any dinner. Now you calling me a jerk. I said your head is good. The top spectacular. But now I’m getting off track. I ain’t talking bout that. Little mama think she bad but she ain’t got no goals. Tried to sing a little bit but she ain’t got no soul. Got kicked out the band like Puff did them white girls. Haha, and I ain’t trying to fight girl.” Those are some honest words right there with just a hint of amusement. All in all, this was a modest offering.
The production here is enjoyable. It entails: a consistent infrastructure, subtle musical ingredients, an upbeat gait, and a positive vibe. Once again, there is no hook present just a minor pause in between verses. The verses are satisfactory. Tope serves up an attractive flow and personal rhymes. He basically pays homage to those who play a significant role in his life and in his career. He spits: “What up ma? I hope you know I’m doing good now. Achieving all those goals that you saying that I could, wow. What up sis? You know I’m proud of you girl. And Ellie’s so cute. You know that’s out of this world, hey. What up grams? You know I love you so much. And it wasn’t always easy when we were growing up. What up grandpops? I know you looking down. Always told me I could this. So, good looking out.” Endearing way to kick off the record right there. His family should definitely feel special. In the end, this cut is a gem.
**My Two Cents: Troubleman is a respectable EP. The production was up to par and the content was likeable. Tope has a very mellow style about him which works nicely with his signature sound. However, I do think that everything could have been stepped up just a notch. If the beats had a little bit more flair to them and Tope’s rhymes were a smidge more innovative, the EP would be a lot sharper. But I still think readers will be fond of it. As a whole, Troubleman ranks a 3/5. Be sure to visit the provided link and take a glance at the above video for more with the one and only Tope. -MinM