T La Rock, Lyrical King

Brian Coleman

By Brian Coleman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Lyrical King

T La Rock
The man who brought the world “It’s Yours.”

As another sadly-forgotten '80s hip-hop legend, T La Rock will always deserve props for just one tune: the 1984 world-changing "It's Yours." Released on the Partytime label, its spine also displayed two words that would come to shake the music world: Def Jam. The original cut, produced by Rick Rubin, combined a ridiculously raw drum program, chopped-and-cut horn samples and T's immeasurably influential lyricism. By 1986, Def Jam was moving up the corporate ladder and T La Rock wasn't part of the plan. But that didn't stop him from releasing this ten-track, scientifical rhyme-fest on another influential label of the day: Sleeping Bag / Fresh. It's no surprise that the two best beats-and-rhymes combos here are aided by another overlooked pioneer of the era: producer and DJ Mantronix. "Back to Burn" and "This Beat Kicks" both excel as aggressive-but-danceable brag tracks, and show T at the top of his liquidly lyrical form.