Thursday, May 3, 2012

Taka Black - Pure Imagination: The Mixtape

It takes boldness to sample a song as square as Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice” on your first mixtape. Granted, Taka Black, born Ansel Wright III, is also taking cues from Rihanna and Adele on his follow up to Pure Imagination: The Prelude, a seven-song set that introduced the world to his music. From the free-and-easy flow of “Best Man” to the electronic club beat of “The Warm-up,” the Cleveland native is sharing his own slice of reality. The name Taka Black comes from a Japanese proverb that he considers a metaphor for “a special child coming from a not so special background.” Wright dealt with challenges growing up, from foster care to getting his clothes from the school lost and found. He addresses these struggles on tracks like “Too Hard,” with rhymes like “You ain’t never met an underdog that’s hotter than me/Couldn’t be close if he was up under my family tree.” It’s not all woe-is-me status, though; one of the better takeaways can be found on “Gimme,” where Wright mocks braggery with lines like "Damn, you da man/How many hoes you got?/Many." Bold, yes. Worthwhile, definitely.

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