Tenn Stacks Delivers with “American Grustle”
By: Marcus White
Long Live the Grustle! For those who have an affection for hard hitting rap from the streets of New York, Tenn Stacks is your kind of Emcee. Take the A train uptown to Harlem and you’ll find Tenn Stacks; a unique presence not felt since some of his heavy hittin predecessors such as Pun, Heavy D, and Biggie. American Grustle by far is his best work.
First impressions give off the conscious street element of an album like “Runaway Slave” by Show Biz & A.G. combined with the story telling from “It Was Written” by Nas. American Grustle starts off with Tenn making his presence felt intensely with songs like “Real Talk” and “Where It All Started From”. Tenn Stacks has a strong disapproval of many main stream artists in the industry today and has no problem making his opinion known. His primary aim is to bring New York Hip-Hop back and this album is definitely a step in the right direction.
Tenn Stacks shows political consciousness with “Fight the Power,” as it speaks to the conditions in the Black community and the solution to the issues that affect Black people. Tenn Stacks is not afraid to voice his disdain of police brutality, black self-hatred, and drug usage as he uses clips from various Kanye West interviews to highlight true definitions of racism and Black patriotism.
In “Queen Molly”, the emphasis is placed on how drugs are damaging fellow Black people physically and mentally. His rhyme style is reminiscent of Nas in “I Gave You Power,” using elaborate metaphors to illustrate a powerful statements. You can also appreciate the jazz samples on this record; the perfect ode to Harlem.
On the track “Last Hope” which features A. Wal, both Emcees go in on their claims of being saviors of Hip Hop. A Harlem and Cali collaboration, which is essentially a sequel to the track “Bi-Coastal” from A. Wal’s album, “A Day in the Life, Vol. 1”. Both Awal and Tenn feed off one another well on both tracks. Tenn Stacks proves he’s an experienced historian. His ability to intertwine history and rhyme is what makes this project so intriguing. The unfiltered, unapologetic real talk commonly known to New Yorker’s express is thoroughly rooted in Tenn Stacks . He will give you exactly what you need to hear. In today’s climate, there’s always a lot of talk of what “real Hip-Hop is.” I’m sure Tenn’s response to that would be similar to the line Biggie dropped in “Flava in Ya Ear Remix”, “the gimmick’s the whack lyrics, the s*** is depressing, pathetic, please forget it.” When it comes to Tenn, you know everything that comes your way will be entertaining, informative, inspiring, and above all authentic.
Marcus White is a music writer for Get Far.