With a swaggering flow and juggernaut flex Tennishu jumps in with megaton force to bury himself into the hypnotic beat until utterly immersed.
The intricately laced lyrical hook of the chorus lodges itself into your ear on the first listen, and the mesmeric sway of it will skillfully tug you into joining in by the second.
The title of the track comes not from the lyrical content but rather the traditional Mali instrument that makes up the central pillar of the beat. It mirrors the MC in its delivery, picking out furious flourishes before relaxing back into its metronomic melody.
Just as with his jazz fusion band Butcher Brown, Tennishu defies genre and creates a beautiful new effortlessly stitching together pieces from many influences with a humbling respect and truly masterful musicianship.
As an MC Tennishu has a distinctly old school flavour and a skill for tight multisyllabic schemes, which is especially apparent in the tongue twisting tease of the chorus.
You can hear Biggie, Rakim, and the noted nod to Busta Rhymes as influences that work their way into his delivery and style. The deep and heavy tone as well as the crisp and careful enunciation of every line also bring to mind Killer Mike and Chali 2na.
Lyrically the song is an anthem for digging in, staying true, and smashing forward. It’s a positive mantra that worms its way infectiously with a feel good vibe.
I dare anyone to hit play on this track and not be calling out the chorus, head bouncing, pumping fists, and cutting a ridiculous foot stomping rhythm around the room by the end of it.
Butcher Brown are a ridiculously talented act in their own right and you should head over to their website and get yourself a copy of #kingbutch
If you want to hear more of Tennishu solo style then head on over to his Bandcamp.
Words by Matt Miles