Artist: TajaiTitle: Power MovementRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Boudreaux The Love Child
It’s been 11 years since Tajai Massey and his crew of energetic brothers in rhyme, that would be Souls of Mischief (SOM), released their classic debut 93 til’ Infinity and helped showcase Cali’s burgeoning freestyle/battle rap culture on a national level. With that in mind, Tajai’s solo debut Power Movement is incredible late. But as he states on “Who Got It”: “It’s been a long time coming, yet I remain hungry.” Good things come to those who wait and the part time school-teacher and full time supa emcee hold up his end of the bargain by delivering a well rounded debut.
Tajai hasn’t been on some lazy ish. Helping to run the Hieroglyphics empire businesswise as well as contributing to all of their releases whether on SOM and Hieroglyphics group projects, solo member projects (Del, Pep Love) and not to mention the occasional cameo. With all that experience Mr. Massey knows how to put a song together. On “Do Not Touch” Tajai is in full control of his vocals while trading bars with Pep Love over gurgling static. “Scientific Method” finds him contemplating the working of the world in a series of rhetorical questions relayed on the hook, “The scientic method, you hypothesize carefully test it, observe analyze, ask the right questions, the answers will arise…”–likely an ode to his undergrad days as a pre-med student at Stanford University. A talented lyricist, the album embodies facets of his personality without sounding forced. Chicks get bagged on “Do It”, an explicit Slick Rick like tale is kicked on “Raunch, Rogue, S####” and the importance of a keen business acumen is described on the mellow “Multiple Choice,” all with ease.
The albums production is provided by family members Casual, A-Plus and Domino as well Amp Fiddler, Fakts One, et al. When the production is tight, Tajai shines. On the aggressive title track Tajai kicks fierce battles raps over intense horns and aggressive percussion provided by Skitzo. But there are a few instance where the beats don’t adequately supplement Tajai’s lyrics, as on the non-descript groove of “Quality, Equality”
Eleven plus years, and that’s just as a professional, pretty much makes discussions about Tajai’s ability a mute point. After all, what else do you expect from a Hiero crew member? Power Movement is a quality album that finds the Oakland rapper surging forward.