TAIN: “Crack to the Future” – technically polished!

TAIN is an artist/producer from Denver CO. He moved away from Denver as a child living in Waterloo IA and Richmond VA and has always thrived on coming back to Denver. Finally back in his hometown he feels there is there is no ceiling for him. One thing TAIN possesses that makes him a one of a kind artist is his gift of appreciating melody on his tracks. His rapping ability is undeniable, and added to the melodic hooks, background vocals and his own in-tune style of delivery is what will lure new listeners in.

Every song on his mixtape “Crack to the Future” is a story and has its own lesson included in it, and TAIN brings you along for the ride in several different artistic styles. It can be difficult to defend contemporary rap music to a set of hip-hop heads still defensive of an art form that, in the past, lived and died on a deep understanding of the genre’s core elements.

It can be surprising then, when a rapper manages to act as a bridge between the classic and the contemporary without sounding hackneyed, and able to use dexterous verses and reverent production choices.

Denver’s TAIN, on “Crack to the Future”, manages to blend that dearly-prized lyricism and crucial storytelling with the raw emotion and club-ready punch that’s crucial for the tracks to maintain absolute credibility.

And it never once sounds as if TAIN’S trying to labor the point. He’s got far more to say than your average mixtape rapper, but manages to mask the complexity of his rhymes beneath a veneer of bass-heavy production, catchy hooks and soulful melodies.

Production-wise, the album sounds as if it could have easily come from any number of top rap labels, yet with TAIN at the helm, the journey is deeper, and far more invigorating than anything from the last couple of years.

Where some rappers have floundered under the bright light of such pristine production, TAIN’S mesmerizing tone lifts these tracks with a haunting resonance that practically demands repeat plays.

Listen to how he offsets the luxurious scenery with his signature laid-back rhyming on the back-to-back tracks “U FT ARTUR KATZ” and “D.R.C 1869”. TAIN’S two biggest strengths as an artist are his prodigious songwriting abilities and the ragged emotional loads that live within that writing. Both traits are omnipresent on tracks such as “KARL MALONE 1989”, “BLUE DREAM FT CHRISTOPHER GALLOP 2003” and “MARY GO DOWN 1875”.

TAIN certainly doesn’t eschew a funky driven beat to ride on, and delivers as much with “$ILKY SLIM 1994”, and then he can cut right back to a slow burning bedroom banger like “MR.TELEPHONE MAN 1984”. His lush baritone can go from a hushed whisper on “4:20 AM 2017” at one moment and explode into a rugged growl on “GENESIS 1988”.

Everywhere you turn, this mixtape is stocked with throbbing, atmospheric beats that provide TAIN the space to pen his tales of life’s exploits. He closes the show down with the cinematic TAIN: THE PROFESSIONAL 1994” and “RAP MAMBA 2008”, but by that time you are completely hooked into the world of TAIN’S narration.

This album feels technically polished and involves a great variety of instrumental sound over its 14 tracks, while showcasing the rappers authenticity and versatility. “Crack to the Future” can be described in one word: huge!


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