Album Review: Emergency Raps, Vol. 4 by Fly Anakin & Tuamie
Mutant Academy is this close to their moment.
After a prolific 2018, the collective continues to raise their bar as they work alongside premiere talent, including the versatile, breakneck production of loop-digging Jedi, Tuamie. The architect behind the Emergency Rap series, the Atlanta-based producer has thus far worked with RZA-esque precision to complement the styles of each emcee through the four installments.
He’s buoyant while exploring ruggedness with Big Kahuna OG, astral over R&B chops with Henny L.O., and even brought a sense of urgency to former Mutant member Koncept Jack$on’s rhyming power. The most recent entry, Emergency Raps, Vol. 4, sees Tuamie at his most flexible, subbing out the griminess early for soul-whispering loops alongside Fly Anakin.
With an arsenal fit for Mutant Academy’s premier shit talker, the two’s chemistry is akin to the backcourt of Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas of the Bad Boys Pistons era, flexing and dazzling their way into the spotlight. And Anakin definitely brings the muscle here, displaying technical expertise that matches the confidence of his delivery. He makes this combination look effortless on the scatterbrained “HolOnHolOn, two minutes of rhymes detailing how to balance his goals with the fame that comes along with it (“I just want a billion dollars and a new car / peace of mind when I step through the bar / so many weirdos approaching me, god / love me to pieces, but you’re making it hard”).
But above that style and flash, there’s Richmond, and just like many of the records from Mutant Academy, Emergency Raps, Vol. 4 quickly becomes a love letter to the city and how the stories can make them who they are. Of course Tuamie and Fly Anakin would be the ones to take this to the next level too – documenting the sounds of the city, combining them with traditional boom-bap tropes, and then creating something fresh and striking in its approach.
With an increasing number of rap projects that stressed brevity over the past year, Anakin keeps his words short and attention-to-detail on point while keeping our heads nodding as Tuamie provides the judicious foundation. And it’s in the middle of the record where this all comes together perfectly, as Tuamie and Anakin find their greatest strengths as a unit while scoring a trifecta of hits: “Murray’s,” “Travolt Pt. IV,” and “Karl Kani.”
On “Murray’s,” an ode to all durag wearers from Chamberlayne Ave. to Huguenot, Anakin gives a vivid depiction of transitioning to waves. He is later joined by rapping veteran Skyzoo, pouring “Henny over imaginary graves” and reflecting the memories he experienced (“My catalog like Psalms 10:5 / Believe, I done seen enough where I can live mine.”). This would lead into the gospel choir flip on “Travot Pt. IV,” featuring compatriots Big Kahuna OG and Henny L.O., with each three displaying their lyrical exercises with a spiritual finesse.
This all builds to the buttery-smooth love song in disguise, “Karl Kani.” The first verse has Anakin at his most romantic, wanting to go the distance with the woman in question but is “insecure for his own protection,” leaving him vulnerable towards his desires.
It glides on from there, like Tuamie and Anakin do throughout Emergency Raps, Vol. 4, showcasing the flash and grittiness that can elevate both artists as well as Mutant Academy to a larger audience in 2019.