The Plug One 2000s: Tanya Morgan, “Moonlighting”

88. Tanya Morgan, Moonlighting
Loud Minority Music
Released April 4, 2006

In the Okayplayer-led world of soulful, classically inspired hip hop, Tanya Morgan’s debut marked a transition from the Little Brother styles of the mid-00s to the freewheeling blog rap of the present day. Hailing from Cincinnati (Donwill and Ilyas) and Brooklyn (Von Pea), the three rappers stuffed Moonlighting with goofy, hastily written songs (Ilyas complains about people mistaking him for Bob Marley on “Just ‘Cause I Got Locks”), Von Pea’s zippy beat-making techniques (sampling MC Lyte on “Paper Thin,” looping Marvin Gaye on “Want U To Want Me”), and a murky hiss that represented their modest, subterranean origins. Despite the album’s poor sound quality, the group’s infectious songs were clearly audible. As the group’s label/management Loud Minority Music struggled to distribute Moonlighting (the label would eventually reform as Interdependent Media), most discovered it via Internet downloads and enthusiastic reviews. The resulting acclaim cemented Tanya Morgan’s status as leaders of the new school.

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