T.F, Mephux & Roc Marciano – Blame Kansas (Review)

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Los Angeles MC T.F is an interesting stylistic case; He maintains that South Central gangster mentality, but with the technical proficiency of a typical New Yorker. Breaking out with a phenomenal feature on 2016’s “Tookie Knows II” by ScHoolboy Q, he would go on to link with Flee Lord of Lord Mobb crew. Releasing dope albums loyal to the West Coast vibe such as Errythang Skanless and Skanless Summer, he would also make more appearances in the East Coast revival scene, always showing out with a unique, gruff flow. Now in 2022, he’s linked with Lord Mobb producer Mephux and the legendary Roc Marciano for an album which leans further into that sound and highlights his come up.

Blame Kansas is a deep foray into T.F’s hood and how it shaped him; This is far from a new concept in hiphop, focusing specifically on your block to the point of forming a narrative around it, but T.F is able to put an interesting and subtle spin on it. Despite the violence and poverty, he’s still proud coming out of LA and it made him the successful man he is today; If nothing else, Kansas Avenue made him real. You can blame the hood for not making it big or for being stuck in your ways, but ultimately it’s part of us and T.F owns it for better or for worse.

There ain’t no confessions to my sins

I built this from the ground up, this ain’t nothing like the Sims

Yeah it’s just money on my checklist

I got Skanless on my back, but lil bro it should say death wish

Only 10 tracks and 30 minutes long, the album is split in two halves. The first is fully produced by Mephux, who is most known for his Pray for the Evil series with Flee Lord. His production style is really immaculate for someone of his underground status; From the light keys on the title track, to the funky riff on “Death Wish”, his samples are always complex and changing; Over classic drums, this creates a uniquely dreamy atmosphere. Each of his beats on is here is so distinct.

On the intro, T.F breaks it down with clever references which amount to a testament of his loyalty. He also hints at the trouble he got in early on by skipping class, progressing to darker deeds. “Olathe” is a standout beat with a dark vocal sample, and features from New York legends Conway the Machine and Roc Marciano of course. “Death Wish” sees T.F spitting his hardest on the whole album over a beat which fits his West-to-East mentality perfectly, while “Crash Bandicoot” has a freeform sax sample and great payoff with allusions to the classic video game.

T.F – Olathe Ft. Conway the Machine & Roc Marciano (Prod. Mephux)

The second half of Blame Kansas is produced by Roc Marciano, who is on a roll lately as a beat maker (having done full albums with Stove God Cook$, Flee Lord, and Bronze Nazareth in the past two years on top of an instrumental album). He generally opts for a style more indicative of that New York underground he knows so well, lacing T.F with some very sparse, grimy joints. It would have been nice to hear something a little more funky from him, a la “Balenciaga Stamp”, but T.F does them justice nonetheless.

“Friend of God” has T.F’s bars really shining over a simple vocal loop, setting up a monster Crimeapple verse. “Cuban Links” has a nice pitched hook which fits the chilling, repetitive beat, and “Betty Crocker” is a major standout. T.F gets to work in the kitchen, proving how clever and deep his references run. Once again, these Roc beats give him a lot more room to breathe and the raps are front and center. “Long Way Home” has a grand hook from Zoo, which stands out on a very bar heavy album and makes this record all the more personal for T.F. Finally there’s “Fuck the Rest” with affiliate Flee Lord. This one is a straight forward and nasty message putting the game on notice; After hearing anything from these guys, it’s clear they’re among the best pure MCs out and you know they mean every word.

Blame Kansas, if nothing else, is a testament to T.F’s versatility and hunger. Spitting over anything thrown at him while giving us a glimpse into the streets that form his veins to this day, he is definitely a talent to keep an eye on.

Listen to Blame Kansas on Spotify

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