Bottling up the sounds of the most popular season to create a hit with emeritus status is probably on the bucket list for nearly every artist doing it. For tabi Bonney, the D.C. mainstay with dreams of seeing his artisnal value grow with every public appearance, he takes 12 stabs at it with The Summer Years, a digestible but otherwise inchoate project owed to tabi’s inability to match his lyricism with the broad instrumentation on hand.
As noted, Bonney is far from a wizard with the wordplay (peep his aspirations for “Big Dreams” on a minimum wage spitter’s budget) but his affiliation with Ski Beatz and the DD172 imprint has the fashionista womanizer conjoined with some groovy instrumentals to pencil in decent records. Scored entirely by Ski Beatz, various excursions include the grungy “Parachute” where thick synthesizer chords lead the bungee jump of relationships on the ups, “Top Notch,” a retrofunk mechanical jam that sounds like it was created at Cyberdyne Systems and the happy-go-lucky, “Hello And Goodnight.” All serve their purpose like a summer breeze passing through to keep things moving along with minimal complaints.
A sprinkling of kosher tracks isn’t enough to excuse an album of reprimand though and The Summer Years is bursting with a novice feel as far tabi’s execution and outlining of song topics are concerned. Wayward in its approach at the core of every song, the aforementioned “Parachute’s” vocals sound like they were read straight off the paper – -rigid delivery and all – while “Groupie Gridlock” features the usual exciting stuff of swimming in women and adding mileage to a Mercedes Benz. The ringtone gibberish chorus of “Frontin'” makes it clear tabi doesn’t have much to say and album closer, “Chasing” drifts with a lackadaisical flow and equally forgettable lyrics.
Such complacency doesn’t exactly bode well for a follow-up even though tabi comes off as a likeable character in his music. He’ll simply have to ration some of his style to the art design department of his rap template.
Label: DD172 | Producers: Ski Beatz