DOWNLOAD: Apprentice – Thaddeus David

Click album cover to download.

I’m back, fresh off vacation with a new tan and a head cold. Ain’t no head cold like a Spain-induced one, though, so it’s all good. Excuse me while I get caught up on week-old drops and such…

Members Only’s Thaddeus David stays in our ears with Apprentice, a six-track affair available now for pay-what-you-will. Billed as mellow, laid-back (don’t call ’em) outtakes from the Maven sessions, watch the young SOTA affiliate stay relevant like Marvel well into the Seattle summer.

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REVIEW: Maven – Thaddeus David

Thaddeus David
Maven
Members Only; 2012

Score: RECOMMENDED

Of the three MCs in local crew State Of The Artist, it’s likely Thaddeus David (or Young TH as he’s known in assembly) is the only one capable of holding down an entire album’s worth of solo material. Parker is an adequate rhymer but his true gifts lay behind the boards and Hyphen8d’s butter soft register just isn’t commanding enough to stand alone despite a charming wit that supersedes both of his teammates. One of the best things about the SOTA boys is how well they share the mic, with each MC getting a turn to shine on virtually every track they do together. Thaddeus is clearly their #3 hitter: the most well-rounded, the most consistent and the most interesting. Maven is his recent outing for dolo, a 16-track LP that’s definitely nice on the ears, but suffers from a partial lack of focus that hinders the MC’s hunt for a more distinct individual rep.

It’s hard to criticize Maven when all of the separate elements of a high quality album are present. Start with Thad’s flow which is natural and well-practiced. He sounds great positing on subjects like street politics (“Block Business”), succeeding in the rap game (“By Any Means”), and old fashioned shit talk (“Aww Sheit”). Part of his appeal lies in his raspy vocal aesthetic, a natural gift that allows him to swagger without trying. You can’t teach or learn that quality — it just is. The other remarkable thing about Maven is the beat choice: every single one succeeds. Provided by local suppliers (Jester, Kuddie Fresh, DJ Semaj) and anonymous internet beat mavens, there isn’t a weak gazelle in the bunch and the diverse sonics range from the dreamy wobble of “Never Never” to the jazzy shake of “Crown Royal.”

But while Thad’s beat selection is beyond reproach, his strategy for hopping on them is suspect. At least half of the collection would only qualify as interludes. Many of them are devoid of hooks that just start to build momentum before trailing off, like “Skyscrapers” which generates a nostalgic, grainy lo-def 70’s movie feel but then quickly rides out. As it goes with most hip-hop records these days, somewhere among the overflow of half-thoughts is a superior and more focused EP dying to get out. It’s a lesson Thaddeus should have learned from the title of Maven’s opening cut, “Less is More.”

In 206UP.COM’s recent interview feature, “THE SIX”, Thad informs us that another solo project is likely on the way, this time a for-profit venture with all original production. Here’s hoping “distillation” is on the MC’s to-do list for that go ‘round. Dude’s Town rep is very strong based on past musical collaborations — SOTA and Helluvastate (with Cloud Nice honcho Tay Sean) — and he’s shown it can only get stronger. The approach just needs a little calibration.

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THE SIX: Featuring Thaddeus David

Photo via artist's Myspace.

This week’s edition of THE SIX features Thaddeus David who last week dropped his solo project, Maven, via Members Only. You can get that for the price of four clicks, here. 206UP.COM will be back with more thoughts on the record, but for now we’ll let the MC tell it.

1. What’s the significance of the album title, Maven?

A “maven” by definition is someone who is an expert or connoisseur. A trusted person in a particular field. To me it’s something that I wear like a badge of honor. Something that I feel I am and will always be aspiring to be more of. It felt like the perfect name for the body of work and stage that I feel I’m at with my music.Plus I wanted people to do the research for themselves and figure out what I meant by the title or take [it for] their own interpretation.

2. What does the term “blowing up” mean to you?

Blowing up to me is taking what you’ve been doing and getting the right business or people invested in you and your future. Taking your passion and turning it into a financial situation that will hold you and your’s over forever. Whether it be getting signed, hitting a hundred thousand music video views, getting a verified Twitter or whatever that’s gonna make your gift into something you can eat off of. It’s that time period from what was to that.

3. If you were “cursed” to have to work with just one producer for the rest of your career, who would you want it to be?

If I had to work with one producer for the rest of my life it would be Kanye West probably. I’d need someone that’s timeless and can take what’s popular and turn it into a classic forever.

4. What’s your favorite Seattle music venue to perform in?

Whichever one has the promoter that’s willing to sock it to my pocket the most and pack that bitch out. Haha I dunno man. I feel like Neumos has the best sound. I’ve had my funnest times off of stage at Nectar. I’ve had my most fun on stage at Chop Suey.

5. What’s the next project we can expect to see from you?

The next project hmm…Probably my next solo project which will hopefully be an album for sale. But either way [it] will have all original production, no more beat tape beats. No one ever knows the beats typically or has heard them. I’ve done it throughout my career with the SOTA stuff up to Hank Moody & the Helluvastate shit too. But I don’t want to fuck with anything anyone can hold against me later. I had two really strong joints that I couldn’t put out on Maven because of Trox being on some super funny style shit. Shout out to him…I wanted to put ’em out anyways but MO’s not trying too. If it was up to me I’d leak ’em anyway.

6. Did you and your friends clean up after yourselves after the “Crown Royal” video shoot in your mom’s house? And if not, was she angry?

Haha me and momma t town have a great relationship. She’s not trippin’ over any of that shit. She was outta town when we shot that. But I cleaned up after. Can’t treat my mom like that. She’s all I got.

Interviews The Six

DOWNLOAD: Maven – Thaddeus David

Click album cover to D/L.

Thaddeus David (of State Of The Artist and Helluvastate) released his free Maven mixtape today via his label, Members Only. This marks the solo debut of the area rapper, a compilation of songs and verses from the last two years. I’ve spun through it twice now and it’s an entertaining listen, not as fully realized as I was hoping, but still a nice collection from one of the best young voices in Town. More to come on Maven including a full review.

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DOWNLOAD: “Smooth Criminal” – Thaddeus David

Click image to D/L.

The latest drop from Thaddeus David’s upcoming Maven mixtape (1.27.12). From Members Only:

January 27th marks the release of Maven, a collection of solo songs Thaddeus David has made over the last two years. A mixture of production from various beat tapes, as well as original production from the Ski Team, Jester, Tele Fresco, DJ Semaj, and Kuddie Fresh, Maven was recorded, mixed and mastered by Parker at Slap Crackle Pop Studio.

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VIDEO: “Crown Royal” – Thaddeus David

Too many Seattle rapper cameos to name here. Every time you recognize one, take a shot. Apparently Thad set the scene for this clip in his mom’s crib (unless “the house of Thad’s mother,” as the press release indicates, is the hottest new club in South Seattle). I wonder if they got yelled at afterward for smoking in the living room.

TH’s Maven mixtape drops January 27.

Video

DOWNLOAD: “By Any Means” – Thaddeus David (feat. Onry Ozzborn & Parker)

Click image to D/L.

Well, here we are. 2012. Another year, another chance for The Town to makes its indelible mark on hip-hop music country- and worldwide. I would argue 2011 saw the widest range of quality releases since I started paying extra close attention (circa 2005). Just like college basketball, parity seems to be Seattle rap’s strong suit. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to properly represent all the styles being fashioned inside (much less outside) of the area code.

But I resolve to try, dear readers, and the immediate future will present many opportunities for me to do so. Let’s start with last week’s drop from Thaddeus David (aka. Young TH of State Of The Artist). His upcoming solo mixtape, Maven, drops on 1.27.12. TH is by far the most talented of the three members of SOTA, his gravelly flow and diverse range of styles runs the anchor leg of the trio’s party-rap relay. We’re looking forward to seeing dude get out on a solo sprint with Maven. “By Any Means” is the ‘tape’s clarion call, featuring a subtle bubbling beat by LA-based Ski Team, hook by SOTA teammate Parker, and guest bars from Onry Ozzborn.

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