Chattanooga possesses a musical diversity few other cities can claim; a wide range of aesthetics flourish and evolve here, making movements within specific genres. Over the past few years, the purveyors of hip-hop nestled within the Scenic City have adapted their extensive branching influences to fit all manner of need and technique. But this momentum doesn’t rest on any one set of shoulders—there are dozens of artists finding relevance through intrepid inspirations that shape their insular hip-hop perspectives.
It takes all these minds and voices to keep the music going, to keep that great noise rising up from the city. And with that understanding, Chattanooga musician TUT and his manager, DJ $hoey, wanted to keep the sounds flowing by providing a stopgap EP from artists who’re working on new material but have yet to offer up many details about their forthcoming releases. The resulting nine-song album, “Four Two Three,” highlights the work of TUT, ChrisP and Michael Da Vinci, and features guest spots from Bbymutha and Jace from Two9.
“The way it came about was because we hadn’t had any project releases since TUT’s ‘Preacher’s Son,’ and we wanted to give the fans something that would hold them over while we continue to put everyone’s individual projects together,” $hoey said.
These songs are defiantly uncategorizable, filled with venom, serration and enough hip-hop braggadocio to level a small mountain. The music from track to track unravels slowly, finding one way and then abruptly switching gears midstream to find another avenue to continue its journey. By wandering through ChrisP’s soul-influenced atmospheres, TUT’s acerbic narratives and Michael Da Vinci’s wrought-iron insight, you come to see how these artists both adhere to certain musical histories and create their own bylines in the hip-hop genre.
Working with a virtuosic collection of producers, including Ktoven, TheHeir, Free P, Jay Knight, 2forwoyne, Ducko McFli and KingNamedTut, these musicians discover lots of ways to approach their various inspirations. From plinking keyboard lines to rumbling bass rhythms to beats that pummel and mesmerize, these songs deftly avoid any simple expectations, opting instead for something larger in scope and execution. “Four Two Three” is the sound of Chattanooga making its voice heard above the roar of the surrounding crowd and pulling apart any assumptions about the sounds of its artists.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.