With two official collaboration releases and only one solo album to his credit, you wouldn’t believe the in-depth and long running history that Timbo King has in the hip-hop game. An affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan and unofficial leader of ’90s hardcore hip-hop group the Royal Fam (and cousin to Flavor Flav), his career started in 1994 with the release of his own solo EP, United We Slam, with producer Spark 950. Since then, there’s been the creation of the group 56 Platoon with former members of the Royal Fam, random appearances in Forrest Whitaker’s film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and the founding of his own music label (which this album is released on), Fortknox. With another album, Buried Treasures (produced by Krimewave) under his belt, Timbo King presents his newest project, From Babylon to Timbuk2.
Production by Bronze Nazareth and sample-heavy beats reminiscent of Wu-Tang in the 1994-1997 era serve as a platform for Timbo to deliver his highly educated lyrics that seemingly double as social commentary on what life can really be like in the inner city. Random (yet valid) historic and biblical themes will pop up occasionally while Timbo shares his insight and stories he’s seen while trying to survive/thrive in the ‘hood and somehow it doesn’t come off too preachy. In fact, with guest appearances from RZA and Killa Priest, he’s managed to cultivate a few songs that can be fairly inspiring and do not suck. Key tracks to explore? “Youth” and “Show Us The Way” are perfect examples of what I just described above, while songs like “High Ranking” (featuring an impressively aggressive R.A. The Rugged Man) challenge weak-ass rappers to step their game up. Meanwhile, tracks like “The Autobiography of Timothy Drayton” and “Wardance” (with RZA wildin’ out in the background) speak to that hood shit you have to live to speak truthfully about and grow from.
Heads up children: this isn’t party music. Be prepared for lyrics that will address current historical and social issues from not only the hood, but from all around the world. Sometimes I want a little more boom in my bap to supplement such poignant rap lines, but there’s nothing wrong with whats going on here for the most part. If you’re into that 1994 East Coast sound (with a bit of updating) or searching for someone who might actually be rapping about something relevant, this might be what you’re looking for.