Diggin’ in the crates: Tabi Bonney’s 2009 effort was ‘Dope’


Need some feel good music for the waning days of warmth? Tabi Bonney’s 2009 release “Dope” fits the bill, a fantastic brick-city soundtrack to our last gasp of Native American summer.

Apologies to Tabi, of D.C.’s Langdon neighborhood. Though a frequent listener to his first album, “A Fly Guy’s Theme,” I totally whiffed on “Dope” save for the single “Rich Kids.” This album didn’t have nearly the push of his first, but is more polished and the production improved. The EP is filled with bangers, and only one “skip” track. Its short-but-sweet length, about 30 minutes, is a guaranteed mood elevator.

“Rich Kids” is hot, but “Duhh” is the real star. Blending old-school Eric B and Rakim-inflected drums with welcome scratching and horns, the track will make even the squarest rhomboid bob his head.

“No Sucker” and “Rock Bammas” round out the top three tracks on this album. “Radio” is a bit of a throwaway, a surprise considering it features B-lister Curren$y, the only big guest. Tabi’s rhymes aren’t overly complex, and sometimes take awhile to coalesce into a flow. But when they do, you will know it.

I rock Bamma’s all the time/Pull up to the Drive-thru give me number nine

I like to speculate on what drive-thru he is pulling up to. Checkers on Maryland Avenue NE is my conclusion. That lyric, which looks so silly on paper, just feels right over the dervish of a synth beat. Tabi has a way of taking something so simple and making it fresh, his gift to all of us.

In addition to his prevalent “cool” factor, Tabi is a worker and is convinced we are too. He wants us to work as hard as he is, but make sure we look and feel good doing it. With this album on, it’s hard not to absorb his charisma. His confidence is contagious, so are his choruses.

Again Tabi, sorry for being so late to the party. But this forward-thinking disc sounds fresher and cooler than anything on the radio in late 2010, and anyone who likes D.C. hip-hop needs to buy some “Dope.” It’s only $6. Would you rather have a swagged out soundtrack or a Subway footlong?

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