Too Many T’s have grafted hard for six years to build a well deserved reputation and following. Their long awaited debut album is out now.
My first exposure to the unique stylings of Leon Rhymes and Standaloft, better known as rap duo Too Many T’s, occurred in a Streatham pub in south London back in 2012. Despite a sparse crowd for a hastily organised rap show the pair performed with energy and infectious enthusiasm. A symbiotic experience given the way they bounce lyrics back and forth.
I’ve had the privilege of catching a further three shows since then. Leon’s 30th birthday in Lewisham, a packed out basement off of the Pentonville Road (where a clearly enamoured, young female fan flatteringly confused me for one of the pair “you were amazing!“), and most recently in 2016 at a showcase of new material destined for their debut album in Bethnal Green.
Like their catchy songs, each of these gigs holds a prominent place in my memory. As a live act they’re simply magic. Funny, engaging and never less than fully committed.
But how easy is it to translate that energy and charisma into a recording? Previous EPs and Mixtapes suggest that it’s possible. However, I’ve found that artists who excel live often struggle to translate that rawness onto a polished, produced studio album.
Too Many T’s have been honing their craft for six years now. Their career has found them at many of Europe’s biggest music festivals. Finally they’ve released their long-awaited debut album, South City. The title is a tribute to their current home in London.
Fans of the pair (and regular readers of The Unheard Nerd) will recognise a number of tracks from the new release already. Sixty’s Ford, Diamonds and Gold, God Save The T’s and Hang Tight have all surfaced with videos ahead of the album release in September.
The duo’s shared love of nineties boom bap is recurrent in their output, and South City is no different. Through previous releases Too Many T’s have been paying tribute to their favourite year, 1992. Part three of a trilogy of songs dedicated to the year appears on South City and embodies all of the pair’s best attributes. Upbeat and fun, the track will appeal to any fan of golden age hip-hop.
Stand out track: 1992 pt.3
The same combination of catchy beats, cheeky lyricism, and an ethos that focuses on not taking themselves too seriously, permeates the release. The exception being the penultimate entry on the tracklisting, Patterns. A sombre tone over an atmospheric synth-heavy beat shows that the pair have more to their game than just party bangers. Fortunately, they’re really good at the party bangers and there’s lots of them.
There are criticisms to be made. The obligatory skits leave a lot to be desired. Generally poorly recorded conversations which, may be amusing to the artists themselves, but feel like unnecessary filler detracting from the flow of the music. That’s it though.
Whilst the album doesn’t come close to replicating the duo’s fantastic live experience, it offers something different. It’s solid from start to finish and one of the freshest releases (mainstream or otherwise) I’ve come across all year. Hip-Hop lives and is very healthy indeed as long as Too Many T’s are around.
Production comes from Flux Pavilion and Odjbox. The album is self funded.
Too Many T’s debut album, South City, is available from all popular music sources including bandcamp where a download will set you back just £7.