Published on April 19th, 2013 | by Queso2
Tough Junkie – Missing [Review]
Tough Junkie gave us a short and sweet album with Missing. Not too short. Not too sweet. Okay, it is quite short, but that’s okay, you can always put it on repeat.
I enjoy listening to Tough Junkie. It’s not the dope beats and rhymes (though those don’t hurt), but the little things that he adds. If you don’t get him from his rhymes, the adlibs and skits on and between each track will let you know…
…I had to pause writing this review because I was laughing at the end of “Get On Some Soul”…
But that’s exactly what I’m talking about! There’s not just this short skit of someone showing up late to lay his vocals at the end of the track, but after the first verse, we hear Junkie talking to his chorus because he “didn’t hear y’all singing on that one.” Little things like this show how much Tough Junkie pays attention to his art and that it is that–ART! From layering his vocals to create a chorus, to quickly yelling “Dragonball” after referencing Krillin in a verse, Tough Junkie knows how the little things in production can bring through personality, which for Junkie, is entertaining and often refreshingly funny.
Oh, but back to the music. Tough Junkie shows his versatility on the boards. We get a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, smooth jazzy intro in “Other Colors,” float through a spacious production in “Hollow Space,” and step to some funky stuff with “Get On Some Soul.”
Really, the titles of the tracks give a decent description of the sound and how they vibe. You can get comfy, cozy, or both to the chill guitar and bass of “Comfy Cozy;” give your brother 5 to “Gimme 5;” or um…call dibbs on “The Dibbs”? Yeah, that makes sense.
As of writing this review, I realized that I didn’t pay much attention to lyrics.
It’s not like anyone out there really cares about lyrics anymore anyway. Let’s pretend I never said that. Anyway, it’s partially because the first few times I listen to an album, I focus on the production, and partially because Though Junkie just did that well.
What do you mean “did that well?” Well, first of all, the production is just plain good ole’ fashioned good! I just want to throw this thing on repeat and vibe to each joint (vibing in accordance with each title as mentioned above, of course). On the production end, Tough Junkie knows how to make something simple sound good. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that he knows that, sometimes, simplicity is the best option. Take “Hollow Spaces” for instance: we have a simple drum loop (kick, snare, and hat; all used sparingly), a very soft acoustic guitar and an almost equally as soft and short vocal loop. It’s super-minimalistic, but the way it is assembled sounds great and allows for the vocals to have their time to shine.
This is also a great example of how the entire album comes together so well. We don’t have the vocals clashing with the production, poorly mixed audio, or the sounds of a mother banging on the closet door while recording; allowing us to kick back, relax and just enjoy this artfully assembled piece (forgetting that mother just grounded me although I’m a grown man).
For those who must have more details about vocals, I threw it on repeat yet again and his delivery is awesome as usual. Whether giving us a smooth singing intro on “Other Colors” or a quick and occasionally stagnated flow on “Them Dibbs,” Junkie brings some dope rhymes. Here, I think it is important to point out another display of personality in the chorus of “Get On Some Soul.” It’s completely clear that these guys (or possibly Junkie’s vocals recorded as different personalities and layered into a chorus) can’t sing well. Actually, the same goes for the hook of “Comfy Cozy.” But, that’s not the point. There is little vocal dexterity on display here, but it doesn’t distract from the track. If anything, it adds to it.
Where Missing does fall short is in a unifying theme. If you are looking for a story throughout this album, you won’t get it here. As I stated before, this seems to me to be more of a display of Tough Junkie’s personality and ability on the board, as well as behind the microphone.
Also, something that seemed kinda outta place is “Gimme 5 (RMX).” The overall sound, mostly in mixing and the laser sound, just didn’t fit and it seems like it should have been the bonus track instead of cutting off the final track, “Missing.”
So what IS “Missing”? Is it love? Is it purpose? Is it Junkie himself? Between the album cover and hooks like “Get On Some Soul” and “Comfy Cozy,” I would think ‘love’ or something like that. Maybe he is referring to himself, seeing there was no official album release (although there was a hilarious mixtape) since Grab What You Can (2009). What do I think? I don’t know, but I will find out.