Tanya Morgan, Brooklynati (Interdependent Media)

The Brooklyn-meets-Cincinnati trio with the funny name is one of the original success stories of hip-hop groups that met on a message board.
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Dual-city trio keeps it true 
Tanya Morgan, the Brooklyn-meets-Cincinnati trio with the funny name, is one of the original success stories of hip-hop groups that met on a message board and began working online. While their 2006 debut served as a solid start for the then Internet-reliant crew, its sophomore album, Brooklynati, is on a higher level of cohesion without being too confined.

Maybe it''s because MCs Ill Will, Ilyas, and Von Pea (who also handles production) worked together more in-person for this project, but Tanya Morgan sounds slightly more complete here than on its debut. Sure the skits and ongoing theme aid the continuity. Although, it''s the group''s collective playful presence that allows Brooklynati to work like it does. With Von Pea at the helm, his sample-based production includes dropping early-''90s flashback boom-bap for the thug-rap spoof “Hardcore Gentlemen,” and then on wordplay-driven “Just Not True,” he draws from thick, blaxploitation funk. It''s not anything too new, but the beat work aligns well with the good times on the mic. The way Tanya Morgan seamlessly combines talents and keeps an ear to timeless hip-hop makes them one reliable true school entity. [3.5 out of 5 stars]