Big Tone The Art of Ink

Big Tone The Art of Ink
In the relatively meagre 38 minutes it takes his latest offering to unfold, Detroit producer/MC Big Tone manages to piece together pretty much everything you could ask for in a hip-hop album. From the first few lines of bass-thumping, praise-giving album opener "Skin Deep," the seasoned sonic ranger lays out a well-paced set chocked full of varied, multi-referential beatscapes that soothe the belly, each topped off with butter verses from Tone and his healthy selection of choice guests. The beatsmith's knack for twisting soul vocal samples gets a sound showing on cuts like "A Song Called Triumph" and "The Look," each assisted by C.R.A.C. Knuckles members Blu and Ta'raach, respectively, with those cuts separated by the exquisite beat build and quaint hook of standout "Chocolate." Tone mixes it up some with the rambunctious, body-rockin' funk rhythm of "Business," and with some added help from Guilty Simpson and surprise visitor Breeze Brewin this record simply does it good from beginning to end. (Tres)