TNGHT is what happens when two of bass music finest (and youngest?) producers–in this case Hudson Mohawke and Lunice–join forces to give hip-hop an uber-caffeinated shot in the arm. Then they take out the syringe, fill it up again, and shove it everywhere else to ensure that you’re as hype as humanly possible. That might seem like bloated hyperbole, but it’s the perfect way to describe the music heard on their debut’s five tracks.
The TNGHT EP is also a perfect example of finding beauty in simplicity. And it’s a simplicity they have learned from one of modern music’s best producers: Timbaland. Yes, he’s inconsistent now, but you cannot argue against the fact that when he’s on, he’s on. Tim’s also a master of layering, a technique that allows his productions to build and take shape almost entirely on their own. While plenty of other producers and musicians have utilized that technique in the past, Tim was arguably one of the first–and if not that, then the finest–at bringing it to the R&B and hip-hop world.
So who better to cite as an influence when you’re trying to make futuristic beats for rappers? That’s when Lunice and HudMo said they wanted to do with TNGHT in a recent interview with Fact, with Lunice noting:
“It’s a rap record. It’s straight, like, rap bangers that rappers could totally get on; there’s space for a rapper-kind-of-thing. And it’s basically like…what we’re intending to do with this TNGHT project is to go straight into mainstream rap music in the States and go against all the top producers in there right now.”
You have to–I repeat, have to–keep that idea in mind when you listen to the speaker-punishing mayhem that is this EP. Could the three- to four-minute instrumentals stand on their own? Of course, and they most definitely do. Just listen to the way opening track “Top Floor” progresses and bangs into a percussion-laden beat skirmish, much like militaristic, Waka Flocka-ready “Easy Easy”.
Then there’s the first track most of us heard from TNGHT, “Bugg’n'”, which boasts that baby noise made famous by Timbaland on Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody“. With the “A-AH” serving as a vocal guide, HudMo and Lunice layer in molasses-thick bass kicks to rattle your trunk under water drops that transform into a snare of sorts. And while all that’s going on, there are “Turn it up!” samples creeping in, metallic drums, and synth surges.
If this all reads like someone getting high off listening to music, it’s because TNGHT evokes that feeling. You cannot listen to this EP and not feel like you just chugged a dozen Red Bulls and want to hit a dance floor to wyl’ the hell out. Or, if you’re a rapper like, say, Danny Brown, you might hear this larger-than-life beats and want to spit on ‘em. I know I would.