Far from his first release, T-Bruin graces us with The Big Bruinski, his first body of work in about two years. BLEU DOPE’s adept beat-producing rhymeslayer enjoys co-production credits alongside Kevin sparkz, KTgotBeatz (twice), Jordan Jackson, Slim Terra (three times), and Marc R (twice) on his 16-track polymathic takeover. Few other authors penned lines beside him : the silken-voiced CidNinja, the caustic Damone, and the ever ratchet-yet-measured Fred Pharaoh (also of BLEU DOPE). Born in New York City, Bruin sharpened his teeth in Atlanta’s Zone 6, only to return to gnaw his way back into Harlemworld, USA. 879 miles in both directions, Bruin’s artistry unravels a musical drape extensive enough to span the distance, with scenes colorful enough to reflect the youth in each state between and beyond.
Always many things, never not himself, Bruin’s focus never wavers : he really believes in us. He believes in us as a generation, as thinkers, as the leaders of our own destinies. I’ve said it before, but don’t take that to mean that he’s some dread-shaking-long-book-pushing-glasses-wearing-wannabe-intellectual forcing an ideology down our collective throat. His sometimes inflammatory lines about rappers he’ll double, deep moral proposals, and dynamic musicality serve to hold listeners in a perpetually-transforming state. Bruin traces many courses of sounds and ideas, invigorating a wide array of listeners. In 16 tracks, his youthful energy has many musical faces.
Bruin’s ability to focus sounds, textures, and densities allows him to retain an agility on this tape. He uses boom baps, nostalgically-rapid jazz, hard knocks, organs, easing strings, tunneled cries, hand drums, snares banging to a keyboard, beaten strings, epic horns, extended flutes, washed cymbals, expanded drums, and closes with shining keynotes. And those are just the leading sounds of some tracks. He arranges these into textures and densities whose variety is matched only by their allure. He explores the hollows of sound, ear-blistering hesitations, fluctuations that create the same layers of sound they travel, hard shifts from flat knocks to airy spreads that evolve into one another, plays between haunting slices dragged into the foreground, sounds trampling one another for attention, and smokily-rendered vocals. On musicality alone that’s a lot to handle on one tape.
And this isn’t one of those schizophrenic ones. One of those “I just threw a bunch of loose tracks together to have another tape” tapes. This is one of those “Catch up or get left behind because I can work over anything” tapes. Bruin flexes many styles not because he’s an amorphous, characterless artist. Quite the opposite. His ability to completely enter a mindscape is his character. This allows him to speak to a wide audience, examining his musical strength along many artistic lines. He holds our attention with an intensely thoughtful musicality punctuated by effortlessly-delivered self-validating bars with no pretension or condescension. Bruin refreshes our sensibilities with raw musical talent, devoting himself to his capabilities.
“I ain’t hatin’, just not relatin’”
-T-Bruin “R.I.P Peace”
WATCH THE BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE OF BRUIN’s “R.I.P Peace” VIDEO HERE.