October 9, 2013

Tony B: Occupy the Streets

Independent Release

Is Antonio Bradford the hardest-working dude in Athens hip hop? The smart answer is yes. In fact, the artist known as Tony B stays so busy promoting parties around town and managing his wide-reaching Infamous Ent crew that it's remarkable he gets any writing and recording done on his own at all. It's even more amazing that the resulting material is as tight as it is.

Tony B's long-awaited new mixtape, Occupy the Streets, is largely comprised of singles Bradford has leaked online over the past year or so. One by one, and without much fanfare, the songs, some with accompanying videos, have appeared on YouTube, snippets of trap-happy hip hop and studio-lush R&B that, while they did much to showcase Bradford's formidable capability as a rapper and producer, begged to be placed in the context of a full-length album.

Although there's not a whole lot of new-new on hand, Occupy is a fluid and consistent collection. From the menacing, unhinged "I'on Fuck With Everybody" to the electro-tinged "Cash" and the bass-thumping bedroom jam "Bust It," the tape is a testament both to Bradford's talent and his dedication.

As with most mixtapes, Occupy is averse to brevity; the all-in, all-out set of tunes occasionally flatlines. Still, one of the album's most stunning moments comes at the end: the quietly epic closer "Life Story" is a frank and moving departure from the rest of the tape's claws-out pugnacity. 3 out of 5.