It's not a stretch to call today's rap stale. Aside from guys like K. Dot and J Cole, the mainstream is flooded with rappers who lack substance and originality. So when I hear a new artist with substance and a unique sound, I'm all ears.
Talent Among Us (TAU) is an up-and-coming Hip-Hop duo from Denver comprised of Champ and Hammer with a sound that combines elements of mainstream, underground, and alternative Hip-Hop. Unlike many duos, TAU doesn't have an in-house producer—instead, production is handled by a handful of talented outsiders.
TAU's latest project, Paid Dues, is a smooth nine-track offering that gives listeners a glimpse into the minds of two talented young rappers who are determined to win in life. The best part is, it doesn't sound anything like the projects that have dropped in the last year. The intro track "Make a Way" (Prod. CMPLX) features Champ divulging the duo's manifesto over a clean, airy beat.
Production on Paid Dues is mostly handled by Dope boi and False Ego, with help from YRS808, NoPlugg Macroni, Mark NiEls, and Bravestarr. This diverse crew of producers gives the project a varied sound—some beats are laid-back, some are more aggressive, and some, like "Get Rich," would be right at home on a Curren$y or Smoke DZA tape.
Like each Talent Among Us project before it, Paid Dues is a clear exhibition of Champ and Hammer's progression. The talented duo continues to showcase their ability to branch out musically without sacrificing substance. In a social media-driven era where people—rappers especially—are championed for playing palatable characters, Talent Among Us has chosen to go against the grain and be themselves, and that's what Hip-Hop is all about.
Favorite tracks: Get Rich (Prod. False Ego), Time (Prod. YRS808 & NoPlugg Macroni), Change (Prod. Bravestarr)