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Phoenix rising

The P.H.O.E.N.I.X is risen, lifting your spirit out of your body like an exorcism.

With the number of artists, songs and albums that circulate throughout the internet, America and globally, it’s easy for artists to fall through the cracks, for LPs to get lost in the shuffle.

I first heard Tiye Phoenix early in ’09 with her track ‘Killing Everybody’ on Youtube. The song featured MC Lyte’s ’10 percent Dis’ where she exclaimed that she’s “killin’ everybody in sight.” After listening to it, she immediately reminded me of Jean Grae — a female hip-hop emcee with great lyrical banter. The track made me want more and although Phoenix’s album, Half Woman, Half Amazin’ was released in May of 2009, it just now got into my possession.

The album opens up with the track ‘TIYEtanium’ which works well as an ‘intro’ — the beat is hard enough to support the title’s connotation but the background riffs are smooth enough to remind you of opening credits to a movie. With no hook, it’s two minutes of Tiye spitting like she’s in the booth on “Rap City.”

Following ‘TIYEtanium’ is ‘The Award’ (listen to the sample below) which Tiye spits lyrical gems such as: “I’m like Tyson on the mic, got em hype when they listen.” ‘Master Plan’ uses more of a mellow, low-key rhythm to wrap around a biographical sketch and ‘Bless Me’ is a love ballad with background vocals verbalizing the inner thoughts of a woman who feels the love of her man.

‘Revolving Door’ is a political track that reiterates that history, that life, circles itself like a revolving door. Tracks such as ‘Stop Right There’ and ‘Go Even Harder’ are a step down from the rest of the album and ‘The Board Room’ is an interlude that is out of place.

Half Woman, Half Amazin’ is probably ’09’s most unheralded album — mainly because that it was released by the not to familiar (and much less known) babygrande record label and that it is mostly found online.  Tiye Phoenix — much like Jean Grae — further exemplify  that female rappers can have great lyrical content with matching flows that can match those of the best emcees of the game right now without stooping to the gimmicky “I am bitch, hear my pussy pop” level that has consumed the female rap artist in the male dominated rap industry.

In all, Half Woman, Half Amazin’ is a very good debut for one of the industry’s most promising emcees.

The Award 30 second sample

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