The phrase ‘takin’ it to the next level’ has definitely been overused throughout the years in relation to artists describing what they’re bringing to the table on a new release. More often than not, said artists are guilty of believing their own hype and fail to deliver on their promise of unleashing music of a high enough standard to satisfy our collective Hip-Hop addiction. NYC’s Timeless Truth, however, have never fallen short when the moment has arrived to bring that uncut raw to your metaphorical door, steadily building a strong catalogue of work that’s steeped in Rotten Apple rap heritage whilst also remaining fresh and new.
With their excellent 2012 EP “Brugal & Presidentes” and the equally impressive album “Rock-It Science”, blood brothers Oprime39 and Solace captured the essence of classic New York boom-bap rap, filtered it through their shared experiences of coming up in the Corona / Flushing areas of Queens, mixed in some razor-sharp rhymes skills, and rightfully took their place alongside the likes of Meyhem Lauren, Spit Gemz and Starvin B as part of a new generation of artists capable of carrying on tradition and building on the Q-borough’s already impressive Hip-Hop foundations.
Reppin’ both their Queens pedigree and Dominican roots with pride, Timeless Truth have the ability to literally make you feel the energy and history of New York City in their music, not necessarily through endless lyrical references, but just in the gritty tone of their beats and rhymes.
Listening to the creative output of Oprime and Solace, it’s impossible not to have the experience accompanied by a flow of five-borough-inspired images exploding in the middle of your third-eye vision. Box-fresh Timberlands. Vintage Polo gear. The closing amphitheatre scene in “Wild Style”. Graffiti-covered 80s-era subway trains. Butter-soft leather bombers. Gigantic boom-boxes. Intense street-corner rhyme ciphers. Milk-crates packed with dusty vinyl being carried to park jams.
It’s not just the sound of Timeless Truth that captivates the listener, it’s also the aura surrounding their music which connects them to the past as well as the present that ensures its potency.
That being said, the pair’s latest release, the “Dominican Diner” EP, is another flawless example of what happens when artists dedicate themselves to studying the science of Hip-Hop and apply those lessons when they get into the lab.
Blessed with an impeccable selection of beats by fellow NY resident Fafu, it’s easy to imagine Oprime and Solace striking traditional b-boy poses in the studio as they hammer the microphone with their dense, code-of-the-streets wordplay.
The opening “Trife” is a lumbering, organ-driven banger which finds the “Queens giants” referencing Tony Montana, The Fonz and Chico Debarge all within the space of four-minutes, shouting out their local stomping grounds accompanied by a haunting, ethereal vocal sample.
“Power Pieces”, that “peace ain’t the word to play s**t”, is a sublime slice of underground brilliance, with Oprime and Solace presenting themselves as “rookies with minds of veterans” amidst Fafu’s subtle keys and shuffling drums.
Staying on the mellow side, “Creme De La Creme” is built around a jazzy, late-night vibe and a soulfully sweet female sample, with the duo sounding like seasoned pros kicking back at an after-hours spot to exchange street knowledge over shots of hard liquor.
The rattling drums of “Out Of The Loop” bring a straight-out-the-basement flavour to the track, evoking thoughts of the Truth brothers passing the mic back-and-forth in a small, dimly lit subterranean space as they rock relentlessly over well-worn break-beats, whilst the raw, minimal “Bail Money In The Mattress” is an effective demonstration of crew solidarity with Brooklyn’s Maffew Ragazino riding shotgun.
Although the level of quality remains high throughout “Dominican Diner”, the real gem here is the smooth-but-rugged “Glory”, which showcases the “Latin kids with fantastic adjectives and narratives” dropping heartfelt jewels regarding the importance of family, past, present and future, over Fafu’s warm, shimmering soundscape.
Another musical triumph for Timeless Truth, “Dominican Diner” has everything on the menu that many heads today say the game is missing.
So grab a table, pull up a chair and prepare to be served a full plate of home-cooked Hip-Hop goodness that’s well-seasoned with the essence of the culture.
Follow Timeless Truth on Twitter – @TimelessTruth