I have a love for New Jersey aka New Jeruzalem. The Artifacts (Tame-One and El Da Sensai) helped to bring Graf and NJ into the spotlight with the song "Wrong Side Of The Tracks". The classic album "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" spawned incredible songs like "Dynamite Soul", "C'mon Wit Da Git Down", "Attack Of New Jeruzalem" and "Flexi With The Tech(nique)". Due to personal and creative differences, Artifacts split up after their slept-on sophomore release "That's Them". Years later, both emcees put out their own solo albums. El Da Sensai hooked up with Seven Heads and put out an LP that sounds somewhat like an Artifacts album without Tame. Still, Tame-One was always my favorite out of the two emcees. Now, Tame-One is back from the dead. He hooked up with Eastern Conference Records to release his debut solo album "When Rappers Attack". He is doing something a little different but he is still the same emcee we all love. The beats are more drugged-up and Eastern Conference's influence is evident. Still, the humor, the spray paint, the drugs, and the love of hip-hop remain. NJ should be proud. "When Rappers Attack" is a play on those spectacular shows like "When Animals Attack" or "Girls Gone Wild". Only 12 tracks deep, Tame-One releases a 40-minute long album without skits and only one guest. It's short, sweet and leaves fans yearning for more.
There is not one bad song on this entire album. While some stand out more than others, the album is consistent in quality, energy, production and lyrics. As an emcee, Tame-One's major strength is his power to write and deliver an outstanding verse. While the hooks and the production are all well-done, Tame-One's delivery, lyrics, and flow on his verses maintain the fact that he is a dope emcee. "Up To No Good Again" (produced by RJD2) is one of the catchier songs that is not only dope but somewhat reminiscent of The Artifacts. The vocal samples along with the stop-and-go loop are complemented by a hard-pounding beat. Tame-One delivers some incredible verses: "…I'm like crack / I do your whole family something dirty / out of jumping New Jersey / Up and down like 12:30…" The chanted chorus adds even more energy. This is an incredible track and probably one of the best tracks on the LP. "Tame Az It Ever Wuz" (produced by J-Zone) was previously on "Eastern Conference All Stars Part III". It was a good choice to put this track on Tame's solo album. J-Zone's beat in mind-blowing. The thick horns and apocalyptic-sounding orchestra sample is not only full and complicated but also extremely energetic. Tame fits the beat perfectly and displays his growth. The Artifacts would not have used a beat like this but Tame-One rocks it well. "…My brain on drugs makes it kind of hard to focus / If you heard this rap before, then act like you haven't noticed / I'm too wasted, seeing the world through slits / And I'm all f*cked up like politics and rap music…" The scratched hook not only adds to the intense energy but also is extremely precise as old Tame lines are sliced up. This is that grimy, underground, energetic, and wild Tame-One track that we have been yearning for. It's new and different and executed perfectly. The track is a modern classic. "Leak Smoke" (featuring CageKennyLZ) is the only song with a guest appearance. Produced by DJ Mighty Mi, this song is about the mind-blowing effects of Angel Dust. While only some hardcore emcees will only mention sherm or PCP in their rhymes (Freddie Foxxx, Redman, Beastie Boys, etc.), Tame-One devotes an entire song to Phencyclidine. This is not only original but very daring too. Angel Dust is a mind-blowing drug and only the people who have experienced it can truly appreciate this truth and aggression of this track. Vocal samples of Denzel Washington from the movie "Training Day" is used in the hook along with an elephant-tranquilized sounding Cage. "Heat" (produced by J-Zone) is another tight track that is perfectly executed. J-Zone's production is very full with different instruments and melodies along with a thick beat. The guitar and orchestra loops work extremely well along with Tame-One's wonderful performance. Of course, there are some very astute comments on the rap industry: "…All of these black Eminems and broke Jiggas / Sounding just like em', to the point there's no difference…" The hook is chanted and complemented by a cool vocal sample in the background.
There are many other dope tracks where Tame-One rocks the mic well and works perfectly with the beat. "Moment I Feared" (produced by DJ Mighty Mi) is a Slick Rick remake that was originally on "Eastern Conference All Stars Part II". The organ-led beat is the perfect vehicle for Tame-One's story-telling skills. As an emcee, he is a very vivid storyteller and should make hip-hop narratives more often. "Iz It Me?" (produced by J. Dangerous) has a vivid 70's influenced beat and a soulful female-sung vocal sample in the chorus. Tame-One asks some very important questions about the state of hip-hop. "Is it me or do all of these R&B cats look like rappers?" This is a creative and humorous track that is tight and enjoyable on many levels. You cannot have a Tame-One album without a song about graffiti. "Homage To The Bomberz" (produced by DJ Porno) is about Tame-One's respect and love for the art of Graf. It's a perfect way to close the album. Porno's beat is thick and the drums are both full and funky. I am very surprised Porno did not do more production work (since he is a member of Tame-One's Boom Skwad). "When Rappers Attack" (produced by Camu Tao) poses the statement "Guess who made it cool to shout 'New Jeru!'". Tame-One attacks the microphone again giving the album a beautiful beginning. A driving beat, a funky bass line, and a chanted hook makes this a strong track.
While there aren't any skits or interludes, there are 2 very short tracks where Tame delivers perfect verses. "Concerto" (produced by J. Dangerous) is a one-verse track with a slow/mid-tempo beat. The lazy organ glides along as a laid back Tame rocks the mic with an ease and grace: "…Half-baked / Guy on the couch / Let me find out who got the dimes out / So I can just buy em' out / Passenger 57 with weapons / Menace II Society part 2, I'm a play Kevin…" Tame-One's flow on the track is something to be appreciated. "Slick Talkin'" (produced by J-Zone) is another one-verse track that is extremely different that anything Tame has ever done. The weird high-pitched Japanese string plucking melody is bugged out. Still, Tame-One rocks the mic well.
Even though there is not one bad song on the album, there are 2 tracks that do not hit as hard. "Dreamz" (produced by Reef) has a cool up-tempo beat along with some more 70's influenced melodies. Tame gets very positive as he raps about a dream of success and fun. The only thing that does not work is the a part of the hook where he says "…This is for people bling-blinging it.." It's a minor foul. Overall, Tame's verses and Reef's beat work well. "Act Right" (produced by Camu Tao) is a slow/mid-tempo track with a light organ melody. While the beat is decent, it's one of the weakest on the album. The verses and flow of Tame saves this track. The hook is chanted by Tame but does not give the song an energetic change. The song is basically a warning for emcees to act right around him and his crew.
Tame-One has a love for hip-hop in all its forms. From graffiti to turntablism to lyrics to microphone hunger, it is all displayed on "When Rappers Attack". While fans may miss the chemistry he had with El Da Sensai and the production of Sean J. Period, Buckwild, Showbiz or Diamond, Tame-One does not disappoint on his debut solo LP. The delivery, lyrics, and flow of his stellar verses over some serious drug-influenced beats make this an incredible debut solo album. He does not want listeners to be bored with his album and he did not want to release a compilation either. That is why the album is only 12 tracks (40+ minutes long) and only has one guest appearance. The replay value is extremely high. Like "The True Meaning" by Cormega, Tame-One's "When Rappers Attack" never gets boring, never sounds wack, and can be played (over and over again) in one sitting. There's not bullsh*t and it leaves the listener yearning for more. Of course, this does make the album feel short. It also does not help that "Tame Az It Ever Wuz", "Dreamz", and "Moment I Feared" have been previously released on Eastern Conference compilations earlier. It would have been perfect if he added "Crazee" or "Doin Me" or some other tracks featuring Jay Burnz and Boom Skwad. The fact remains, Tame-One is back and he can rock the mic without El Da Sensai. Tame-One works very well with Eastern Conference Records. While El Da Sensai's LP was very well done too, Tame-One has more charisma, is wilder on the mic, and is just much more entertaining. Tame-One is an excellent emcee and since it is highly unlikely that Artifacts will re-form, this solo LP should satisfy fans. "When Rappers Attack" is filled with excellent production, clever and fun-loving lyrics with themes of graffiti, hip-hop, drugs, women and street-life, and hungry performances. Brick City and New Jeruzalem should be proud. Tame-One's solo debut LP "When Rappers Attack" is almost perfect.