Big Tone The Art of Ink

Big Tone The Art of Ink
The auto industry may be struggling in the Motor City but musically, Detroit has been flourishing for quite some time. Big Tone has kept some fine company and padded his resume by working with the likes of J Dilla on Welcome to Detroit. Tone (born Anthony Jackson) brings us his sophomore effort, The Art of Ink, which he produced, the follow-up to his 2005 debut, The Drought. Big Tone welcomes the listener to his album with "Skin Deep," a title that ties into the tattoo theme of the album, which is a vehicle to "create music with vivid depictions of life, love, aspirations and growth." Don't be fooled, however, this album isn't of the bubblegum and candy variety. The lyrics are hard-hitting and honest, highlighted on a short track like "Scapegoat" or a more standard length cut like "Pedigree," featuring Guilty Simpson, one of a number of guest appearances by artists such as Blu. Tone's production style is varied and keeps you guessing, leaving you pleasantly surprised. The Art of Ink contains tracks that are hazy and off-pitch, and others that float by, while some are rugged and bruising. There is also a generous sprinkling of exceptional samples throughout. Tone's vision was to use this album "to provide insight to his lifestyle and perspective, which led to the tattoo-based theme of the project." Mission accomplished, The Art of Ink is an album you won't soon forget. (Tres)