Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
The independent hip hop scene is a very oversaturated one. It’s arguably the most populated sect of indie music, which also means it has more than its fair share of terrible tunes. Fortunately, a new record entitled ‘Back to the Music - Return to the City’ by the Samuel Tinker does not align with that side of the scene. It’s a sharply produced jaunt through some of the more elegantly executed hip hop I’ve heard in indie music in quite some time. Let’s dig into it.
Tinker, who is a nineteen year old college student in Alabama, is an unlikely talent. His online presence is minimal, if it exists at all, and he’s only dropped one song on Sound Cloud prior to this release. (Bear in mind the album is pending release; I got an early copy.) ‘Back to the Music’ is a succinct endeavor, too, not overstaying its welcome with snappy, suave tunes. This is most certainly exhibited in the opening track, ‘Real Love.’ Tinker melds some nice R&B influence into his hip hop on that song.
‘Bipolar,’ a track directly produced by Tinker, is definitely a more erratic pursuit than its predecessor. The beats are actually a tiny bit jazzy, focusing hard on a sly hi-hat beat propelling it forward. This extends somewhat into the following track, ‘Never Ever,’ the weakest link of the project. ‘Never Ever’ feels void of a true purpose, even a bit annoying in its execution. ‘Determination,’ the next song, which also features Tinker’s brother, Jack, is a much more concrete effort. (I thoroughly enjoy the banter between the two.)
‘Really Miss U,’ another song featuring the brotherly combination, is the strongest link of the whole album. It’s an excellent track, harnessing a superb production chock-full of wonderful sound effects, tight beats, and a fantastically bizarre synthesizer. Tinker and his brother are in fine form on it, too. ‘Wait,’ the finale, is an excellent send off as well, tying back to the R&B musings of ‘Real Love’ at the beginning.
‘Back to the Music - Return to the City’ is an incredible record, especially for such a young artist. If it’s indicative of any other music Tinker has in the works, or his potential as an artist, it’s worth paying serious attention to. The album will be released shortly.