Album of the Day: Tall Black Guy, “Let’s Take A Trip”

Over the course of two albums—one under the alias “Yusef Rumperfield”—Detroit producer Tall Black Guy has forged his own distinct path through hip-hop, even if his mix of hard drums and obscure samples aren’t breaking new ground. On Let’s Take A Trip, TBG stays the course, offering up a soundtrack for escape.

He makes that concept clear from the jump: The cover sports an animated locomotive with TBG hanging from its left side, and two song titles—“A Train is Coming,” “Come With Me and Fly”—reference travel. The journey is musical as well; on “This One Is For The Ladies And The Gents,” TBG and trumpeter Miles Bonny bridge the gap between J Dilla and Sade, offering a mellow vibe with adequate knock. The same goes for “Rocking From Beginning to End”; its blend of boom-bap and floating keys would slot in perfectly on adult contemporary radio, or in the background of a coffee shop.

Musically, Let’s Take A Trip is dialed into yesteryear; on “Beware Of The Groove” and “I Will Never Know,” TBG pays homage to Midwestern funk and neo-soul with the help of vocalists Mario Sweet and Moonchild. Taken in full, Let’s Take A Trip is another success for one of indie rap’s best-kept secrets, and another step in the right direction for a formidable talent who’s still building his name. The sounds may be familiar, but the ability is clear.

Jesse Fairfax

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