Live in Portland March 19, 2018 | Holocene
There’s something to be said for a well-balanced pair of MCs, especially in an era where it seems that most successful hip-hop acts are either going solo or forming supergroups with more budding rappers and producers than you can shake a mic stand at. Enter TiRon & Ayomari, a Cali duo who’ve been steadily building an outstanding discography for the better part of a decade, though they have yet to really break into the upper-echelon of pop stardom.
There’s also something to be said for dropping a summer album in November, which they’ve done with their latest project, WET: The Wonderful Ego Trip. It’s a 15 track journey that manages to be musically experimental while still staying grounded in classic hip-hop themes and references. Acoustic guitar-centric riffs and vibey percussion serves as the basis of the production, with a healthy dose of philosophical samples sprinkled throughout and spaces for the duo to wax poetic in some impressively dense acapella verses, though there’s no shortage of solid bars over classic sampled breaks as well as more contemporary programmed drums.
There are moments where TiRon & Ayomari sound like Outkast in their heyday, moments where they sound like Kendrick circa To Pimp A Butterfly, but overall the pair has crafted a sound that’s decidedly unique, though clearly rooted in the sunny So-Cal environment they hail from. They’ve also amassed an impressive list of dope features over the span of their career, the standout here being Portland’s own The Last Artful, Dodgr on “Ffake Ffrends,” whose unmistakable crooning flow steals the show. In what is perhaps another ode to the City of Roses, the duo’s sarcastic homage to club bangers is called “Holocene (Is the List Closed?),” and may or may not take its name from the venue they’ll be playing here in town on March 19. Whatever happens, it’s guaranteed to be a trip.