Gifted, intelligent female emcees are few and far between. While Lauryn Hill's off strumming guitars, T-Love emerges from the Los Angeles underground hip-hop scene to fill the gap with her first full-length, "Long Way Back." Well armed with multiple mic skills, including singing her own hooks, T-Love launches an assault on contemporary rappers by returning to the genre's golden era with conscious lyrics, cleverly laced jazz riffs and old-school flavor.
"When You're Older (Ode to the Pickaninny)" is a song about taking pride in one's physical features (skin color, hair texture, etc.), educating black children about the ridicule their ancestors faced and what they themselves may face. And "Witch-Bitch?" entertains with a catchy chorus ("B/ Girls/ Don't fall/ Down") while sending a strong message to women about maintaining self-respect in relationships.
T-Love's penchant for early '90s hip-hop is most apparent when she borrows classic lyrics like "positive over negative for this woman to master" (Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth) and "Tryna make a dollar outta 15 cents" (2Pac/Digital Underground). Her quirky delivery, reminiscent of Oakland's Hieroglyphics crew, is another nod to a time when it was OK to be playful and light-hearted on wax. "Long Way Back" will surely have hip-hop heads missing the good old days.
"Long Way Back" is available now from Astralwerks.