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
‘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.
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
I Am TholhuGospel