Reviewed by Garrett Richie
As long as music has been around (forever?), listeners have tuned into new collaborations, anticipating the new, resulting sound or style. This has held true in today’s HHH industry, with plenty of underground-sound artists coming together to pump out projects with a number of styles. From Falling Tsar to the Phat Kats, new artist combinations always bring something that’s at least slightly unique to the table. Now, thanks to Wonder Brown & MC (Till), we have the Kings of Tragedy.
With MC’s beats and Wonder’s knack for dropping endless sick verses (although both had a hand in both aspects of the project), Kings of Tragedy packs enough punch to hold its own against any album with a similar boom-bap vibe. Furthermore, the album distinguishes itself with its beginning-to-end skit storyline and additional commentary (which amazingly never gets dull or monotonous over the 21 minutes of it). This aspect separates the project from 3 or 4 hit albums, as the skits and transitions command that the CD be taken in as a complete work. It’s definitely a fluid performance that is easy to spin all the way through.
As far as artist credentials go, not much explanation is needed. Wonder Brown has spent plenty of time ripping mics as a member of the Scribbling Idiots and Fallen Tsar, while MC (Till) has already collabed with k-Drama on Black Guy Meets White Man. Now together, Kings of Tragedy was one of those good ideas that leave listeners wondering why it hadn’t been thought of earlier. Their chemistry also adds to the album’s quality, with their back-and-forth flows coming off with Cross Movement-like efficiency on songs like “Ain’t No Any Other”, “Good Thing”, and “Get Down”.
Although I’ve mentioned that the album is best listened to as a whole, there are a few songs that deserve some individual mention. First, “Bless Your Soul” opens up the album with solid production and a flow that sets the stage for the remainder of the album. From here, “Ain’t No Any Other” has its up and downs, but is carried by a catchy hook that leads into the start of the first of the skits.
A few songs later, we get the first taste of Wonder Brown’s singing on “Cincinnati Summer”. The piano-heavy track with Wonder’s well-sung hook and bridge combine to create a high quality song. Continuing with the singing, “Another Way” dives into the topic of men respecting women and women needing to respect themselves.
Moving on, you’ll catch a vivid verse from Cas Metah on “Early Morning Love”, which is also a great overall song, addressing the mission of inner city ministry workers. A few tracks later, “Good Thing” rocks the album with a hot track and lyrics that basically address, well, nothing (Wonder even admits it on the commentary). Either way, the song is still a hit due to its catchy hook and strong bounce. (I actually caught myself singing it all day at school on accident).
On “Black Sheep”, Wonder and MC bravely attack the empty promises and lies offered up by politicians year after year. With many lighthearted tracks on the album, this song is a nice deviation from the norm. And finally, “The Road” helps the album to wind down with a laid back beat and smooth verses. Also, although few and far between, the features on the album are solid, with appearances from Cas Metah, Theory Hazit, and k-Drama (although you won’t hear him rap).
In short, any fan who digs the underground sound of Falling Tsar, Scribbling Idiots, and all the artists composing the groups, don’t sleep on this project. Wonder and MC have created a pretty unique project that definitely can be appreciated from start to finish. To check out the Kings of Tragedy…go to MC Till’s blog (mctill.com) or Wonder Brown’s MySpace to find more links to their music.
For fans of: Falling Tsar, Scribbling Idiots, and related groups.
Purchase CD – download – iTunes