Tone Spliff x Vic Monroe Words To The Wise

Having been given a preview listen of this one, it brings me great joy to be able to finally share my thoughts and feelings on what is simply put, a fantastic hip hop album. We got the perfect pairing of Tone Spliff and Vic Monroe in 2021 with ‘Marinade‘ which was not only well received by hip hop heads, but when revisited after listening to this latest album, still stacks up with killer replay value. Now, in 2022, we get the next collaboration between the two masters of their craft – Tone Spliff has an impressive ear for production and his cut-work is better than Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran, while Vic Monroe delivers on point and on time lyrically with a super impressive style and grace.

The album kicks off with ‘Wise Words From Baz‘ which is a really tight intro, with some poignant thoughts being dropped that help shape your mind as you get ready to appreciate the upcoming music. ‘Words To The Wise‘ gets the music started in style with impeccable scratch work, bold boom bap drums and Vic Monroe’s silky vocals in sync with the soulful and sexy hook. ‘Destinations‘ features GQ on the track and is so well delivered, it feels guilty just listening to it. The lounge-music style production suits Vic and GQ and they both drop quality bars – “Playing hopscotch on continents / til this work reflect opulence / Flying over pointing at the monuments / concert or classroom, raised hands compliments” ….

The Nas sample on ‘Prosperous‘ is brazen and bold, and the duo are up to the task, using it to perfection as Tone ensures the track keeps that 90’s boom bap vibe and Vic drops a storytelling rhyme that hits the mark. After a killer skit (Kiddos), the drums get a little more raw, the rhymes get harder and we get ‘Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin‘ a rugged little anthem while ‘As We Proceed‘ softens the tone with some nuanced production but Vic is still a force on the mic with this one! And that hook hits sweetly with an array of samples cut with precision.

Recognize Ali joins the team for ‘In The World‘ and brings the bars with a somewhat forceful yet relevant undertone, while ‘Visions of Love‘ (on the back of another well-placed skit – Broken Heart Diploma) moves the subject matter to a more romantic notion over an upbeat, dreamy beat. ‘Time Goes By‘ circles back to that real dusty boom bap and gets the head nodding with the reminiscent joint jogging the memory bank, before ‘Food For Thought‘ closes out the album and leaves us with this take home message – “I got too many flaws to be perfect, man / too many blessings to be ungrateful and was faithful / food for thought take a plateful, yeah / and eat a face full“.

Words To The Wise‘ is a boom bap album, paying homage to the elements that make hip hop great all while being a masterful release in its own right. The progression of album from start to finish, builds like a blockbuster movie and has you wanting to hit play as soon as the album finishes. It’s this maturity of offering that really adds the substance around the release and makes this a well thought out and executed album that is going to have to be talked about in a number of award categories come years end (I mean look at that epic cover art!!!).

Bangers: Destinations, Ain’t Sayin Nothin, Prosperous, In The World, Food For Thought.

Score: 10 / 10. After a multitude of listens, there was no way I could justify giving this anything less than a perfect score. The production of the album is top tier and then you add in the scratches and Tone Spliff is going to be a serious problem in a number of categories this year. Vic Monroe is a masterful emcee with a well honed craft and quality lyricism. The album builds, the features fit seamlessly and it’s one of the best albums of 2022. Period.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!

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