Known for constantly releasing projects, often short in length, Tiger Style follows the trend – in only 26 minutes of runtime, the duo demonstrate their clear rapping ability, yet fail to develop their sound past previous projects.
Production is handled by Sadhugold and Nicholas Craven, who’s heavy vocal samples and minimalist approach are particularly identifiable throughout the project. Whilst the production is crisp, and the distorted mixing on Gotti’s verse on ‘Love is Luh’ suits the eerie vibe of the track, Craven doesn’t venture too far into the unknown. With DUCK CZN: Tiger Style arriving just ten days after his joint project with Boldy James, Fair Exchange No Robbery, there is a notable similarity between certain tracks on both projects. ‘Turbo Tariff,’ for example, sounds like a sequel to Boldy’s ‘Town & Country.’
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Even though Craven’s production may be a little repetitive, he certainly fits the aesthetic Mach and Fahim are aiming for. One just has to listen to Mach’s 2021 ‘Balens Cho’ to hear how the rapper thrives behind drumless, jazzy production. As per, Mach’s raps are full of catchy one liners, including his trademark “flip you like…,” this time being ‘foosball’ and ‘Andy Warhol’s wig.’ His performance on ‘Chimay Blues’ and ‘Turbo Tariff’ stand out, proving that Mach is at his best when he is flowing, focused on his delivery, rather than his more laid back tracks. That said, on ‘Tiger Style’ he is notably a tier below his 2021 level, demonstrated on his phenomenal ‘Pray for Haiti.’
There are times when Mach sounds unfocused and uninspired; the opening track ‘Bone Strait’ contains a dreary opening verse whilst the chorus repeats, ‘There’s not a straight bone in your body’, without much variation. Mach’s chorus on ‘Wiz Marquee’ is again repetitive, and from an artist who is normally renowned for his hooks (just listen to ‘Kriminel’), these tracks leave you wanting more.
Which leaves Tha God Fahim, who ultimately steals the show on this record. Whilst Mach may have regressed slightly over the past year, Fahim is on top form. He proves his technical prowess on ‘Wiz Marquee,’ saving the track following the forgettable Mach-Hommy verse and chorus; ‘Iron lyin’ flat up on the dresser for applyin’ pressure’ is a brilliant multi-syllable rhyme scheme. Like Mach, Tha God Fahim is at his best when he is switching up his flows, demonstrating his ability. ‘Love is Luh’ is packed full of references (‘I’m fly like Julius Erving whilst playing for the Sixers’), and turns an intriguing Mach introductory verse into one of the best tracks on the album.
And yet, be it his voice or his delivery, Fahim never seems to leave an imprint on his slower tracks. ‘Tiger Balm Ultra’ and ‘Gossamer Wings’ see Fahim flow at a leisurely pace and they are his least memorable verses on the project. Thankfully these moments are few and far between, allowing Fahim to show off his skill alongside one of the games best.
Juju Gotti makes three appearances on the project, providing the chorus on ‘30 Stone Grouper’ and closing out tracks ‘Tiger Balm Ultra’ and ‘Love is Lah.’ His gruff, often distorted voice is a welcome addition to the project, and whilst he doesn’t outshine Mach or Fahim with any of his verses, his presence is appreciated, especially at the end of ‘Tiger Balm Ultra’. Elsewhere, frequent collaborator Your Old Droog (YOD) delivers a solid verse on ‘Blue Hill @ Stone Barns,’ letting us know he knows his level in today’s rap game.
DUCK CZN: Tiger Style is not an ambitious album- it is Mach-Hommy and Tha God Fahim sticking to what they know -but they still excel at places on it nonetheless. Indeed, the bars from Mach are not as tight as some of his previous opus’, and the production on these short length projects is starting to become repetitive, but a stellar Fahim performance and a tracklist that flows well from start to finish makes this project worth the listen.