There is nothing more attractive than an intelligent, socially conscious hip hop head. Examples vary by sexual preference, but T-Love suits my fancy just fine.
Joining the already prosperous ranks of fellow fem-cees Bahamadia and Jean Grae, to name a few, T-Love fuses her excellent lyricism with beautiful jazz vocals most hip hoppers are afraid to express on the same album.
Like the aforementioned fem-cees, T-Love has had success in the past – most notably with her Ninja Tune-released “Witch Bitch” single in 1999. Now almost half a decade later, Long Way Back brings with it not only T-Love’s fluctuating intonations and passionate delivery, but guest production fit for a queen. Jay Dee takes the helm of four tracks, most importantly by helping T-Love to express her early years in “When You’re Older (Ode to the Pickaninny).”
The previously released “Wanna-Beez,” produced by This Kid Named Miles, stands among the funkateer’s best produced work to date, and is bolstered not only by T-Love’s urgency with wack-ass phonies but by a strong vocal contribution from Jurassic 5’s Chali 2Na as well. Newcomer Dwele is the only other guest vocalist and appears twice; the catchy “Seven” stands as the one to play for your hip hop significant other.
Ironically, the final track practically sums up the album: The massive nine-minute medley “Oh-So Suite” is a gem, beginning with the revisited jazz ballad “When Malindy Sings.” This blends beautifully into “OG B-Girl,” production care of Ninja Tune genius The Herbaliser.
This unreal beat mixed with T-Love’s sultry, quieter vocals brings across a startling fact: this song just might be the veteran producer’s and enthusiastic B-Girl’s best work ever released. And I’m not just saying that cuz she’s sexy.
[Mr. Bell is sexy and you don’t hear him bragging about his work…]