One cannot go wrong digging in the crates (get it?) for 90’s New York City tracks to freestyle upon. The admittedly timeless quality of an alarmingly large proportion of the work, based on solid beats, the organic grime of Gotham and an edge that runs the gamut from wheat Timberlands to glass tables to switchblades is accented by the nostalgia factor, as a vast majority of tastemakers and hip-hop aficionados found the music during this renaissance, infusing the choice with an instant calming sense of familiarity.
Those holding the pens and gavels now find nothing wrong with this music, Halazone ears reaching back to the “good days,” the aural equivalent of a security blanket or a Pall Mall after deadline.
This enduring love, however, is a double edged sword: once an artist has worked up the courage to appropriate one of these beloved tracks, they must make sure to handle it correctly. A tricky balance between leaving a mark but not defacing a piece of music that carries immense weight with many people must be struck, and it is this aspect of the 90’s New York City based freestyle that so often dooms rappers, who enter the booth with their necks in the guillotine before they speak their first syllable, the entire song an uphill battle, one long phone call to the governor.
Tink amplifies this issue by being not only a female emcee, but one who skips the breathy, conversational, flirtatious flow of Kitty Pryde or the maniacal caroms of Young Money-era Nicki Minaj, one who bypasses the lustful gloss of Iggy Azalea or the banality of Kreayshawn and spits instead with a straight forward style that, while being the most traditional among any of the aforementioned, becomes somewhat of an oddity by virtue of its surprising scarcity. She handles the venerable “Ten Crack Commandments” with ease, lacing a rock steady flow with enough punch lines and lyrical barbs to satisfy even a particularly jaded listener.
“Catch Up (Freestyle)” is a strong performance over an intimidating track shrouded by an immense shadow, and one that provides those not so bemused with the recent wave of New Guard rappers evidence that emcees of a certain lyrical vintage are still alive and well in 2012. Consider the guillotine astutely avoided.
“Catch Up (Freestyle)” receives a PARL
Download: Tink-“Catch Up (Freestyle)”
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