Tony Tillman ‘The Tillman EP’ Review

tony-tillman-the-tillman-ep-review

Tony Tillman found God in the back of a Police car. However this is true for may other of Christian rapper’s; lives of drugs, crime and immoral behavior are often what they have been saved from.

‘The Tillman EP’ is the warm up to Tillman’s forthcoming album and having never heard his material before I was interested to know is his music would stand out from the crowd of similar sounding, mediocre Christian Rap be “just another Rap album.”

The EP starts with the melodic synth driven song ‘Tailored’ featuring Beckah Shae. It’s an immediate attention grabber and the dynamics work so well in drawing you into the song to hear it’s powerful message, that we are formed by the same hands who made the stars. Fashioned by the Creator, perfectly designed and tailored. You are tailor made.” One line that really stood out was “so thirsty for validation you don’t even know you’re special,” which will relate to the people the song is targeted at.

‘Hourglass’ took me back 15 years to a time when Hip Hop was mellow, melodic and poetic. Featuring Tedashii, Chad Jones & Rio, each artist adds a different feel and texture to the song while reminding us that time is not promised to us and that “this life won’t last forever, and time will slip away.”

Tillman totally surprised me on ‘Psycho’ entering the track with a double time flow bringing and assertiveness, raw feeling to the track. Both Tillman and Canon use this Trap styled beat to catch the attention of the listener and bring the truth of the Gospel to encourage salvation in the unsaved and to enthuse the believer.

‘Heaven’ comes in 2 installments. A simplistic, shimmering acoustic version, which will have you swaying from side to side featuring Out Of The Dust and a Traditional Gospel inspired piano led version fused with classic Hip Hop MPC beat production featuring brass and string arrangements featuring Sho Baraka and Jordan Love. This song looks forward to ‘Heaven’ and leaving this world behind, “Cause waiting on my Saviour got all my emotions mixed up. Anxious everyday feels like I’m waiting on Christmas. They ask why I’m in such a hurry to see the sun drop. Y’all don’t hear that ambulance? Y’all don’t hear that gun pop?”

The EP features a bonus track titled ‘Tillman’ which seems to be a track, which introduces you to the artist, which is great if you’re new to him like I am. “And when the ask me to define Tillman, I just tell ‘em, we’re just servants of the most high God bro… We till the fallow grounds of a man’s heart…”

‘The Tillman EP’ has done exactly what it was set out to. When artist is gearing up to release an album an EP normally serves as a way to wet the appetites of listeners and create excitement leading up to the full album and ‘The Tillman EP’ has done exactly that for me. After hearing this EP I would go out and buy it. There’s a wide variety of styles but the EP (for the most part) is very melodic which makes it easy to enjoy the songs without having to be a hardcore Hip Hop/Rap fan whilst also appealing to Acoustic, Pop and Gospel music lovers.

I did notice that every track other than ‘Tillman’ has a featured artist. Looking at the track list and number of featured artists without listening to the EP would have caused me to wonder if Tillman could hold his own, was a strong enough writer and a good enough artist to deliver a solid project without using other artists as a crutch. After listening I realised that this isn’t the case and that his writing, the versatility of his flow and his overall musical diversity showcase great artistry.

As someone who isn’t hardcore into Hip Hop/Rap but a lover of it all the same I was genuinely happy to hear an EP that stands out from the crowd, that flows organically and genuinely sounds like an expression of an artist… If ‘The Tillman EP’ is the starter, I can’t wait to get tucked in to the main course.

Track List:

  • Tailored (feat. Beckah Shae)
  • Hourglass (feat. Tedashii, Chad Jones & Rio)
  • Psycho (feat. Canon)
  • Heaven – Acoustic Version (feat. Out Of The Dust)
  • Heaven (feat. Sho Baraka & Jordan Love)
  • Tillman – Bonus Track

5/5

Reviewed By Matt Brooks

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