Tone Spliff

Tone Spliff

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[a1066547]

Artist

Tone Spliff Discography Tracks

Albums

RN103289 Tone Spliff Authentic(CD, Album) Mind Write Music RN103289 US 2009 Sell This Version
Tone Spliff Pull No Punches (Album) Mind Write Music US 2016 Sell This Version

Compilations

RN107796 Tone Spliff Work Ethics(CD, Album, Comp) Belmont Records (3) RN107796 US 2011 Sell This Version

Reviews

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tonespliff

tonespliff

March 25, 2010
Tone Spliff: Authentic by Sean Deezill

Tone Spliff is a producer, first and foremost. His inspirations are the usual suspects (Premier, Pete Rock, Extra P, Marley Marl) and he’s from New York. He fits the bill, but then again, so do 90% of other hip hop producers. So, what makes this one so special?

Even though his first major production album (featuring a variety of special guests a la DJ KO’s Picture This, DJ Revolution’s King of the Decks, etc.) entitled Authentic is still fresh and new, Tone is certainly seasoned. He’s been through the game as a rapper, a tour DJ (for Copywrite and Vast Aire), and has finally settled on the calling of production, where I personally feel he belongs. Certainly, Authentic is Tone’s ballad of sincerity in noise, rhythm, and poetic soul via the beats, but he does add a few heavy weight features that could (and should) bring to life the beauty of the LP. Royce Da 5’9, Apathy, Skyzoo, Copywrite, Chaundon, Braille, Planet Asia, Krumbsnatcha, Special Teamz, and Pace Won are all a few of the guests that came along for the ride. So, how does this blend of Tone’s gritty, classic beats and bigger named features translate for this project?

“Do it For You” hums along beautifully with Krumbsnatcha, who drops two verses better than anything on Hidden Scriptures, and Tone maintains a unique pattern of soft spoken drums while highlighting a marvelous acoustic melody. The beat has its climax and the chorus is enthused by scratches. It’s a winning combination that really helps define all the great moments of production on Authentic. The same is heard on “Respect is Due,” although reminiscent of Remot’s remix of Stat Quo’s “Grits,” the horns are placed as the main feature as they should be. It takes a special producer to know what sounds to put at the front row.

The two star studded tracks all come with a variety of pressure for Tone. Does this cat have the heart in his production to bring the best out of the likes of Apathy and Royce on “If You Forgot My Name” and does he have the stamina to keep up with Skyzoo, Pace Won, and Copywrite on the album’s closer, “Inside Out.”? Well, Apathy and Royce deliver absolutely fantastic performances on the former, perfectly fitting the playful, yet, militant beat with a cool and collected flow, as well as flavorful word play. “Inside Out” emphasizes a beautiful piano loop fittingly stuttering around the calm and confident Sky, the vigilant Copywrite, and the aggressive and thoroughly under rated Pace Won. The beauty of this track is its endurance. Tone Spliff constructs an addictive and content posse-cut beat. Truly, this is a difficult art only a few producers can really accomplish well.

For Spliff, if there are two things that can be improved on the next time around (who is apparently already prepping his next compilation for 2010), it would be to give a little more “umph” to each beat, and to also be selective. The former is about spending a little more time with each piece of production and polishing it until its shine can be seen (and heard) from miles away. I can’t help but feel that beats like “Understood Perfectly” and “Heartfelt,” which features a really dope guest spot from Braille, still leave plenty to the imagination (in that frustrating type of way). There are various subtleties in Tone’s beat-making and his instrumentals truly all sound good, but there is evidence here that he could be a better producer even though is beat-making is so good. The latter piece of advice is simply to be a little more selective with his emcee choice and his beat-emcee combination.

For the most part on Authentic, the production drowns out a variety of the emcees, even the good ones (See: Wordsworth on “The Right Way” and Chaundon on “State of Mind”). This is seen both as a pro and con for Tone Spliff, but mainly as a negative for the listeners that still give a damn about good lyricism. Certainly, the pass cannot be given to Tone for the lowest points of lyricism on Authentic, simply because a great producer should be getting the best out of every emcee he works with. I mean, even Premier made Group Home sound like something special, right? And while he does it on occasion (as seen with “If You Forgot My Name” and “Inside Out”), it is not on a consistent enough basis where the skip button isn’t in frequent use.

It’s a hate/love relationship with Authentic, but there is no denying that The Magnificent or Soul Survivor is in the sights of Tone; he certainly has enough potential to reach these cornerstones.

74/100
Tracks: If you Forgot my name, Heartfelt, Inside Out

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