“The Bully Plank”
WMSE’s music department gets over a hundred CD/vinyl/digital submissions per week — that’s a whole lotta music. So, how do we listen to it all? Magic. Honestly, some releases just grow on us after we’ve had ’em for a while, because of mere, natural audio overload…we’ll catch a DJ spinning a track we’ve heard once or twice, and remember how great it was the first time we spun it. Domino effect happens a lot, here. Such is the case with Minneapolis’ Paper Tiger.
Part of the insanely-talented Doomtree collective hip hop roster, Paper Tiger boasts contributions from Mike Mictlan, Dessa, P.O.S. and Maggie Morrison, among others. Over the last few weeks, since its debut in July, Paper Tiger’s Made Like Us, has stayed at the top of the WMSE Radio 200 charts (this week it’s #10). Today, Jerry from Vitriol Promotions sent WMSE a reminder email as to why Paper Tiger rules. We didn’t really need a reminder, but his words make for a good explanation to you, the listeners.
Jerry writes, “I’ve long said that I’m very proud of the indie hip-hop scene that we’ve got going on here in Minneapolis. It needn’t even be noted (but I’m gonna) that Atmosphere, Brother Ali and the whole Rhymesayers crew hail from our beloved Twin Cities and have been making noise nationally for some time now. What’s even better is that there’s also been a crew of young upstarts stealing some of their thunder and notoriety (in the most friendly, ultimate homies way). Doomtree has killed it in the last year with records from P.O.S., Dessa, and the whole crew’s album as well. It is with great honor and pleasure that I bring you the new album from one of the most talented members of our scene.
Paper Tiger is the producer responsible for some of Doomtree’s most memorable singles. “Game Over,” his cut with emcee Mike Mictlan, helped land Doomtree’s self-titled disc at the #1 spot on CMJ’s hip hop charts. “Low Light Low Life” became a crowd favorite on P.O.S’ critically acclaimed Never Better. “The Chaconne,” released on Dessa’s A Badly Broken Code, featured Grammy-nominated Matthew Santos and installed the record on Billboard’s R&B, rap, and indie charts. He’s also served as Doomtree’s live DJ, in his signature white-rimmed shades. Behind the scenes, he’s the collective’s primary designer, responsible for the bulk of Doomtree’s visual aesthetic. It may be funny that I’m bringing you the album from a producer who’s gained notoriety by working with rappers, yet the album features absolutely no rapping. But that just speaks to the strength of the record. Let’s take a look.
Track 6, “Palace” – The song features Dessa, Doomtree’s sole female mc, who recently made a name for herself with her solo release, “A Badly Broken Code.” The album featured production from Paper Tiger and received a shit-ton of accolades. Here you can obviously see why. The track is a sultry, slinky introduction to the signature sound of two of the most innovative voices in hip-hop.
Track 8, “And the Camera” – Dessa’s other contribution to the album features a haunting vocal delivery over a bed of harmonies and whip-snap percussion.
Track 5, “Make Make 2” – I don’t honestly know much about the source of the vocals on this track, other than they’re gorgeous. But what I do know is that it’s like Royksopp all hopped up on steroids. If they were making hip-hop.
Track 3, “The Bully Plank” – My first of the “mostly instrumental” recommendations on the album. It’s driven by a chopped up piano part that slyly transforms in to a hook, a sick beat and accented by a handful of soulful samples.
Track 4, “The Painter’s Arm” – This track features Maggie Morrison from Lookbook, a name/band you may not have heard much about outside Minnesota, but you should and hopefully will. She was recently named best female vocalist in the Twin Cities and it’s easy to see that from her magnetic performance. The bass grinds along while the beat sounds like it’s played on trash can lids and Maggie flies above it all, the echo trailing behind her.
Track 10, “The Ritual” – Again, I have no idea of the source of the vocals, but the singer sampled here lends a bit of an r&b lean to the vibe and yet again proves the incredible chameleonic talents of Paper Tiger.
“Anyone who has listened to Doomtree over the years, and heard the incredible production on songs like Dessa’s “The Chaconne” and P.O.S.’s “Low Light Low Life,” know that Paper Tiger is an incredible up-and-coming producer. A big influence on the gritty, sample-heavy, genre-defying production style that defines the Doomtree sound, Paper Tiger’s instrumental work is charged, moody, and carefully crafted. He released a great EP a couple of years ago as a part of Doomtree’s False Hopes series, and now is ready with a full-length debut that his fellow DTR producer Lazerbeak helped executive produce.” – The New Confusion
“Paper Tiger weaves beats, synths and organic elements perfect for blaring out my moon roof while giving the skunk-eye to swagger wagon-driving suburbanites at each and every stoplight. And although it is mostly instrumental, look for guest appearances from Dessa and Maggie Morrison.” – Perfect Porridge
“Paper Tiger is one of the go-to guys for MPLS’ hip-hop heavy hitters Doomtree. Handling the tasks of live DJ, graphic designer, and producer, it seemed like the only thing left to do was put out an LP of his own. Well I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the debut full length Made Like Us on the doorstep of my blogging hibernation den and it was just the spring feast I needed. Paper tiger has been a key member of the Doomtree crew and has picked the perfect time to drop MLU which features rising star and fellow Doomtree member Dessa as well as Maggie Morrison of the ever growing and ATF favorite Lookbook…” – Above the Fold“