Tonedeff is known for battling, Tonedeff is known for rhyming fast, Tonedeff is known for creating “Happy Fuck You Songs,” but if that’s all you know about Tonedeff, then you really don’t know him at all. Archetype is not only an album, but a musical journey that lets you travel through his thoughts, feelings and emotions.
The title track lets you know that “change is good” and overdue, as Tone takes on the status quo and even those against the norm, “for every rapper constantly bitching, I made the record it’s honestly different.” The backward forward production sample becomes entrancing and enhances the tale of originality’s importance. The Elite produced “Issawn” is crazy chaotic, overflowing with rowdiness guaranteed to get everyone mean mugging and moshing. Tone masterfully rides the beat and incites a riot with the “tear this bitch down, tear the bitch down right now” chant. On “Pervert”, he makes his “panty smelling” fetish public knowledge and transforms it into a cleverly, comedic rampage. He gives you warning after warning, as the openly honest track bounces along with E-L’s production. “Quotables” is more than just an obligatory posse cut, Tone gathers up some of his illest friends: Substantial, Wordsworth, PackFM, Session, Supastition and Rise, in a battle royal of punchlines that will leave your head spinning
There are some downsides to the album though. “Let’s Go” is a high energy track where Tone gets you moving, but the production’s drums are too reminiscent of Destiny’s Child “Lose My Breath.” It becomes distracting trying to listen to the lyrics when you’re expecting “can you keep up” to come in at any second. Production once again plays the part in taking away from the words, on “Porcelain.” The piano becomes overpowering and prevents you from focusing on the melancholy romance tale he’s delivering. There are other times on the album, where synthesizers should have been left out (“Masochist”) and where his harmonies becomes sounding too similar to his singing on previous tracks.
There’s no denying that Tonedeff is one of the most creative people in hip-hop, pushing musical boundaries so far that he’s too open-minded to be in either underground or commercial categories. He takes chances, his intelligence shines through his lyricism and is taken to even higher levels with his delivery. Will this become “the new hip-hop?” Only time will tell, but this is a great step in the direction of making the music mean something again. Hopefully, Archetype will encourage others to pour their time, mind and soul into their releases and not just concentrate on fitting in, getting rich, and making club bangers.
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