Tunji Ige Missed Calls
Published Apr 01, 2016At first, casual listeners might mistake Tunji Ige's new EP, Missed Calls, for a run-of-the-mill mainstream rap release. After all, its production (handled by Ige, Addtl and Noah Breakfast) is in lockstep with the downcast, ambient, synth-and-Auto Tune-laden fare that dominates much of today's charts. The Philly rapper's choruses also have mass appeal: an apt, "Never change that" refrain on, surprise surprise, opening cut "Change That"; the "Sorry, gotta put you on hold," chorus on "Bring Yo Friends").
However, it shouldn't take long for even the most oblivious of listeners to hear more sophisticated elements under that glossy surface. The production, while catchy and easily digestible, is nevertheless comprised of numerous disparate elements, evidence best on "War," which features a pulse-through-a-stethoscope bass line, along with synths that chirp like a sonar and crash like a wave. Meanwhile, the aforementioned "Change That" boasts bright retro 8-bit sounds reminiscent of a Game Boy, and "On My Grind" features warbling ooh oohs over horn jabs and percussion that crackles like tin foil.
Ige's lyrics also harbour subtle complexities. On "Bring Yo Friends," he spits: "I don't want no handout, don't want no land / Got it on my own, yeah this shit is known." However, it's a key line from "On My Grind" that perhaps sums it up best: "This for the masses / This my right of passage." With Missed Calls, Ige proves that mass appeal doesn't have to be simplified or dumbed down. (BrainBandits / Bad Habit)