San Jose-based Recording Artist/ Emcee, Thatfool Al delivers his 4th solo project Isness to the masses with much gusto. The 8-track body of work sees him painting vivid tales of his life in his stomping grounds over the vibrant backdrops provided by Marcus Rodriguez, Sleap and more.
“Isness” is the perfect introduction as it starts off with a dreamy and scenic soundscape underpinned by Thatfool AL’s reflective take on this thing called life. He comes to terms with his lot in life and asserts himself with lines like “I got no fear homie, That is why I am here homie/On the dead homies, That’s where I pledge only/No allegiance to the freedom that they fed to me/I swear their whole paradigm is dead to me” and reminds us that he is down for the entire ride.
This is followed by “Walkthrough”, a soulful track made up of jazzy textures, warm pads and subtle horns to boot, Thatfool takes time to savour the life he has been forced into and breaks down the ups and downs of life and the feelings of reaching out for something new. The production is quite magnificent and towards the end, it switches up into a mellow bass-driven piece underpinned by Thatfool’s West Coast drawl and stylish storytelling. “Jerks” has a summer feel with its bright keys, rich guitar plucks and airy horns laced over a head-nodding drum groove. Here, Thatfool reminds us that sometimes you have to jerk the jerks before they take advantage of you. He also gives listeners some tips on how to maneuver in his hometown and all the necessary guidelines that could keep you safe from the pitfalls.
“Everyday” is a smooth bouncy jam made up of a thick pulsating bassline layered over rich keys and snapping grooves. As the title suggests, the track deals with the day-to-day problems and struggles he faces in his neighbourhood. He also pays homage to the fallen soldiers but overall it’s just a reminder that problems never finish and life just keeps rotating regardless of your fortune or otherwise. “Turn Off” is a mellow reflective track that dwells on being focused on one’s true goals in life as opposed to being stuck in a never-ending job cycle where progression is null and void while “Dolphins” has a warm and relaxing feel with its sombre guitar plucks and comforting pads. Here, Thatfool takes time off to relax, far away from the madness of the city and helps paint a serene picture of escaping off to an exotic place with that special someone.
The fun continues on “Offerings”, an inspirational and appreciative track where he gives thanks to the small mercies in life as he sings “Giving Thanks don’t Take Long, Imma Get Right Before the Day Gone“. The final track “Home Base” has a sombre and nostalgic feel with its sad horn riffs, sublime pads and soft drums. The track sees the rapper reflecting on the concept of growth, and self-confidence and the many events that could shape one into being better.
Overall Isness is cohesive, and vivid and gives listeners a perfect glimpse into Thatfool AL’s life