T.S.O.B. Records – The Sampler Album
T.S.O.B. Records / The Orchard (3/6/07)
Rap / R&B
I’ll be honest: When it comes to independent “sampler” albums, the best part is usually the press release that comes with it. The good people at T.S.O.B. Records have included words such as “hits”, “quality music” and “masterpieces” in print to describe what kind of music they make. I’m inclined to introduce them to the word “hubris”, but let’s wait until the end of this review to let ’em have it.
T.S.O.B. stands for “The Sound of Brooklyn”. Their roster is only five deep, but, to their credit, the members featured on this album do bring their own distinctive sound to the proceedings.
Sanatra is on the opening track “Pull Up”, a languid, but inoffensive attempt to touch on all of the usual rap staples: cars and conceit. He’s also on the much more effective “I Don’t Mind”, which is helped by the solidly sparse electric guitar and piano drops.
Underground spitter Etcetera is also on board. He’s got the first single, “Backin’ Up”, and brings the best effort of anyone on the album. The production is reminiscent of some of the bombastic tracks from the late ’90s East-coast scene, and Etcetera flashes lots of charisma. His second track (“Treat U Betta”) isn’t as strong, but that’s mostly due to the done-to-death “thug in love” subject matter.
The R&B and pop entries from the T.S.O.B. ladies are something of a mixed bag. Sha has a smoky lilt to her voice on the decent “Nothing Wrong”, but tries too hard to be sultry on “Ride With You”. Conversely, we’re introduced to Cocoa Sarai on the tracks “Heartbreak” and “Desire”. Her contrived passion schtick has been done better by many more talented artists.
Hey, I can admit it. This was a pleasant little surprise. There are a few songs here that are strong enough for regular radio rotation, while acts like Etcetera and Sanatra show potential for a hit record or two down the line. The slower stuff is more miss than hit, though, so T.S.O.B. would be wise to put their money on the right horses.