Taigenz Shows Variety and Verve with Muntree
People often stereotype hip-hop as rehashing negative themes, including misogynistic attitudes towards women and the glorification of crime. But far from being only trap beats, bragging, and praise for the gangster lifestyle, hip-hop can be a form of poetic portraiture; the rhyming lines of a song can be like an artist’s graphite ones, sketching various aspects of the musician, what they stand for, and subjects they reflect upon. In Muntree, a seven-track-long E.P., Taigenz comments upon his experiences and his city, Montreal. But will he do so by creating a portrait of poems, or will he collage together unoriginal hip-hop iconography?
Muntree opens with “Victory Song (feat. Aiza).” It has a soothing strings and woodwinds, and uses horns to create an atmosphere of triumph. Aiza embellishes the track with her vocals. Taigenz’s lyricism is inspirational, and with the chorus featuring the line, “I been thinking about my dreams and my soul . . .” Muntree is off to a good start.
“Potential” has a catchy and bare-bones instrumental with claps and tinkling. The song is cockier than “Victory Song,” but Taigenz uses creativity to pay homage to hip-hop’s swagger and avoids using bragging as filler, such as when he says: “I get hoes / Same ones you try kissin’ but you friend-zone / I can’t relate / I be hitting French hoes in their friend’s homes.”
“Shottas,” with its metallic clinking and sample from “Tinga-linga-ling,” has an instrumental impossible not to bob your head to. The line, “I ain’t scared to shoot if it comes down to it,” seems like Taigenz lapsed into including a hackneyed hip-hop theme, however, at the expense of authenticity.
“Watcha No (feat. Sector-A)” uses piano and hi-hats to evoke pensiveness. With lines like, “I’m not trying to get pussy from you / I’m trying to get loose-leaf and shrooms,” and confessional lyrics about the struggle and persistence that being an artist entails, it’s a welcome return to Taigenz’s relatability.
“Lookin’ 4 Love” is a soulful monologue to a woman seeking romance. The instrumental is wistful and with lines like, “Here’s the deal / work on yourself / get a feel of your worth / before you struttin’ in them heels for appeal,” the track reinforces the thoughtfulness and emotionality of Muntree.
“Dolo (feat. Widget)” has a sombre violin and piano complemented by no-nonsense drumming. The song, with a theme of betrayal, is a defiant statement about Taigenz’s perseverance and solitude. Widget’s verses about progress, and Taigenz’s lyricism (I’m just a crab in the bucket / with a coin for a budget / struggle and rise above it / ‘cause success is in the air and I can touch it / and I’ma make them love it, nigga), make this track memorable.
“Worthy” consists of ambient chanting, piano, and faded-out vocals, which create an atmosphere of confronting challenges. The lyricism complements the beat perfectly, with Taigenz dropping gems like, “I’m from the hood but it ain’t always showin’ / ‘cause my jeans don’t sag, / ‘cause my braids don’t lack / ‘cause my speech ain’t broken / but these souls been broken . . .” Heartfelt and honest, “Worthy” is a great way to end Muntree.
Taigenz has shown that, with his dynamic flow and intricate lyricism, he is not your average rapper. Even when bragging, Taigenz usually does so by creatively remixing this aspect of hip-hop, rather than slightly modifying a trite, swaggering formula. (This can’t be said for many hip-hop artists). Muntree also has a broad thematic and sonorous range, with both hype head-bangers and plaintive tracks for those bouts of nostalgia. Even if Taigenz isn’t looking for love, he’d certainly appreciate some from his fans, so give Muntree a listen.
- Muntree covers a broad range of themes, lyrical styles, and emotions.
- The flow is skillful and the lyricism is often original and relatable.
- Occasionally, Taigenz veered towards bragging, detracting from the creativity of his songs.