Tayyib Ali – Catching Up!

Tayyib Ali is an 18 (or perhaps 19 by now?!) year old hip-hop artist out of Philadelphia and as the title may suggest we’ve been woefully lax at keeping you guys up to date with him and giving him the web time he most definitely deserves. Looking back at it now we were first getting a heads up about Ali way back in March but as happens sometimes, and is as unfortunate as it is inevitable, we didn’t really register him on the radar. Then “Keystone State Of Mind”, his latest and greatest mixtape, dropped in late April and suddenly it was very hard to miss him. I’ve been savouring said mixtape for a couple of months now, more than time enough to digest it, so can’t even use that excuse for the delay… Essentially it’s been a poor show from us, but we are willing to admit that mistake, and rectify it, by giving you a (highly reccomended) download link to “Keystone State Of Mind” right HERE and promising to keep you up to date from now on in. So maybe that’s not an apology of NOTW proportions but it seems a more sustainable one to us, plus our errors are possibly a little more forgivable?!

“Keystone State Of Mind” opens up with the beautifully introspective and aptly titled “Get Up”, the lyrics as meaningful and attentionworthy as the underlying melody is entrancing. We then get treated to some classic hip-hop, jukebox style samples, the kind of tracks you imagine as a soundtrack to a slightly hazy walk down a beachside road with the sun setting on the horizon, the pick of which being the title track. “Never Change” see’s a surprising but highly effective change in pace. To begin it’s almost trancelike, the echoing instrumental, Ali’s ardent gunt. Then the piano and lyrics proper kick in and you’re already entranced, the melody beneath begins to bubble up imbuing Ali’s flow with renewed vigour.  He rides the crest of that fantastic instrumental into the infectious hook before the pace slows again allowing for a reflective break. There’s one final burst of energy before my favourite track closes out with that very same trancelike tune that opend up fading to silence.

It’s back to the nostalgic summer hop that Tayyib Ali so excels at for “Yesterday”, “Amazing” is the standard almost pre-requisite egotistic track but when it’s delivered over beats as good as this it’s more than forgiven. “Girlfriend” offers a nod towards the synthy RnB that was everywhere, aka all over the charts, a year ago (before the current dutch house takeover, but that’s another story for another day) and is emminently catchy. “Do It” is the latest track to have been given the video treatment by Jon Kilmer Studios, you most probably spotted it at the top, but if not, check it out.  “California Love” is yet another superb track, there’s something in the way that Ali’s flow melds with upbeat instrumentals that simply produces aural delights. Speaking of production, a big shout must go out to whoever’s behind the production for “Keystone State Of Mind”, the instrumentals are varied, infectious and well paced and the vocal matching such that the whole is even better than the sum of it’s parts equating to this mixtape being the fantastic piece of work it is.

You might think that after 13 tracks quality may start to slip, and that indeed is one of my biggest complaints with mixtapes, them simply being too long, quality over quantity. Just to clarify, that is certainly not the case on this occasion, if anything the final four tracks are some of the strongest on the tape. From the mellow blues edged “Get Down” and the self-assured chants of “I’m Ready” to the select guest appearances that compliment the last two tracks so perfectly this really is a truly exceptional mixtape. If you haven’t grabbed the download yet here is the direct link: http://www.datpiff.com/pop-mixtape-download.php?id=m4910b3b. If you want a sample before you get the whole tape check out “Never Change”, “California Love” and “I’m Ready” below.

Tayyib Ali – Never Change [right-click to download]

Tayyib Ali – California Love [right-click to download]

Tayyib Ali – I’m Ready [right-click to download]