Has Tribe One become Nerdcore’s most popular rapper, and how good is his latest release?
Tribe One has a certain charm about him. He’s calm, well mannered and a phenomenal rapper who appears to have the ability to win over any crowd with his presence and talent on-stage. I’m fortunate enough to have witnessed this first hand on a night where Tribe One is performing with his side-project Malibu Shark Attack. MC Lars and Akira The Don both expressed their genuine approval. Since then I’ve been spreading my new-found love for Tribe One the man and performer, it seems I’m a little slow to catch on as one after another his peers declare their long-running admiration too. Random aka MegaRan told me that Tribe One is the best Nerdcore rapper out there today. Mikal kHill rates Tribe as, not only one of his best friends but, one of the most talented artists he knows. No pressure then, Crisis On Intimate Earths ought to be a pretty decent release.
A modest six tracks form the components of Crisis On Intimate Earths, the title of which is a play on the DC Comics story arc Crisis on Infinite Earths. Production comes from Mikal kHill and Joules with the exception of the opening track Dirty South Swamp Thing, which is attributed to DJ OpDiggy. The feel of the song is reflective of the title with a lurching bassline and fuzzy guitars looped over natural sounding beats. Tribe One’s lyrics are delivered at variable pace as he easily switches from a steady flow to a far more rapid rate, yet always pitched with clarity so that the comics, game and throwback references are easily distinguishable.
One of Tribe One’s strengths is his ability to tell a story infused with sentiment through pop-culture references. Why Can’t We Be Friends? illustrates the point perfectly. An upbeat track verging on a soulful vibe tells the story of when opposites attract but how it’s sometimes impossible to reconcile those differences.
‘Then she said that Genesis was better than Nintendo, oh hell no!’.
A Single Bound (All Star) is a whimsical track that promotes the ability of mankind to aim high whilst drawing parallels with the Man of Steel. Gotham City God Damn (All Star) continues the comic book theme with a tribute to the home of the Dark Knight and it’s problems whilst penultimate track Louisiana Boy, Mississippi Girl introduces an electronic element to the sound which alters the natural flow of the album somewhat. A competent track, well delivered it does stand out as different in the track listing to my ear. Video games form the basis of Single Player Redux, a track littered with double meanings and innuendo as comic relief.
Lyrically there are few that can capture the essence of Nerdcore in the way that Tribe One so acutely does. His nerdy references are not just there for the sake of being there, he doesn’t champion one fandom over others. What he does is far more clever. He uses comics or video game references to illustrate a point either as a metaphor or as part of a narrative. Why Can’t We Be Friends is possibly the smartest example of this right now. Musically the album lacks a little in terms of hooks but works as a platform for Tribe One’s incredible vocal delivery to shine. This isn’t a perfect album, but it’s a damn good one, go get it!
Crisis On Intimate Earths is available to download from bandcamp for a mere $5 now.