Amber London "Tru 2 Tha Phonk" Album Review
Since coming to the forefront in 2011, one of the more influential groups as far as the current sound of underground rap has been the collective known as Raider Klan. Though recently the roster has been shaken up, with Chris Travis, Ethelwulf, Sky Lex, Denzel Curry and Eddy Baker all going their separate ways, the Klan still has plenty of talent left. One of the most promising talents in Raider Klan is Houston representative Amber London. Having burst on the scene with her hit song “Low MF Key,” Amber London caught the attention of many due to her sound, which is a mixture of Gangsta Boo and her Houston trill roots. London teamed up with Babylon Cartel DJ Gianni Lee to drop Tru 2 Tha Phonk, a hefty 26 track mixtape that shows off the Texan's many styles and flows. Following her last project, 1994 EP, does Tru 2 Tha Phonk live up to it's name ?
With 26 tracks, the length of Tru 2 Tha Phonk is somewhat intimidating; though that quickly disappears once you notice the amount of interludes (8) that this tape has. The tape itself is of rather normal time length despite the track length, it clocks in at a little over an hour in length. This tape rode the after effects of the major splits in Raider Klan well, the Klan actually used this tape to proclaim “Klan Ain't Dead,” which I thought was a convenient way to kill two birds with one stone. Other than that, there wasn't too much special with the way this album was presented, it was pretty much a “Here it is” situation.
The production on this tape is great, point-blank. You'll need a proper system to truly appreciate the sounds on this tape, but if you grew up on Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and/or Swishahouse music, you love everything about the production on this project. Hell, even if you didn't the beats on here are undeniable.
My only issue with the songwriting on Tru 2 Tha Phonk stem from the frequently lackluster features on here. Aside from Mufflucid on “Bussin Back $$$” and Nell's show stealing verse on “Swangin & Bangin '95,” most of the features were rather mediocre. That took away from Amber's overall performance, which for the most part was great throughout the album. Her songwriting specifically was well done, she rarely sounded weak on here at all. The last bit of the album seemed rushed from a writing perspective, and as a result those were clearly the weakest songs on the project writing-wise. Other than that, Amber sounds like a trill rap machine, with outstanding exploits on “Bussin Back $$$,” the lead single “Servin Fiends,” and the eloquently named “Choppa Got Dat Ass Shakin Like A Hoe On Da Flo Nigga."
The production on this tape is great, point-blank. You'll need a proper system to truly appreciate the sounds on this tape, but if you grew up on Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and/or Swishahouse music, you love everything about the production on this project. Hell, even if you didn't the beats on here are undeniable. It's rare that every beat knocks on a project, but with Tru 2 Tha Phonk, every beat knocks, hard. The best part about the production is the fact that there is a mixture of trunk bangers (Stay Tru 2 Da Phonk), chill joints (Money On My Mind), and just cool vibing music (Swangin & Bangin '95). The track “Get Respect” has a great sample of Roy Ayers “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” as well, which was greatly appreciated. There's something for everybody on this tape production-wise, and that's a testament to Amber London picking great beats to rap on.
Aside from the fact that there's a lot of interludes, Tru 2 Tha Phonk rides very well from start to finish. The tracks keep a very consistent pace throughout, which was a huge worry due to the sheer size of the project and was a happy surprise. Nothing really got boring or repetitive until the end of the project, but I chalk that up to the fact that those tracks sounded rushed overall. Generally speaking, this project was very cohesive.
This was the hardest part of the project to gauge. While there technically isn't much “substance” to this project, that isn't necessarily a bad thing in this case. You have the usual drug, guns, violence, and all around lifestyle raps that make up the typical aesthetic of the Raider Klan sound, which is what you expect to get out of their music. While there are some small messages in this project, they are secondary to the purpose of the project, which is just to provide good music to bump to. It isn't supposed to be ripe with substance. It serves it's purpose.
Amber London performs very well throughout this entire project. She's cool, calm and collected as she spits grimy bars for 26 tracks. The best part about this project from a non-music perspective is that she made herself stand out. With Tru 2 Tha Phonk, she lifts the title of “that chick in Raider Klan,” she earned that. This whole tape is her sticking her chest out proclaiming “I'm Amber London, and if you got a problem I'ma hit you with the choppa,” and her performance holds true to that. There's no denying her after this.