The current state of pop music is widely recognized by most serious listeners as an industry that favors consumerism, the beauty industry, and sex over musical and lyrical expression. Hip hop is a dominant part of almost all top charting music as is over processed and affected female vocals. The messages expressed in this music almost always play on sexual desire, material desire, or teenage relationship. This can be demonstrated by an action as simple as turning on any one of the many overly disappointing MTV stations. However, once in a while something “hip” pops up and then very quickly disappears from the spotlight to make way for stuff that brings in the teeny-boppers.
Tabi Bonney is one of those artists who will tend to pop up every now and then as he is constantly peaking out of the alternative rap scene into the national pop arena. Yet, his commitment to alternative styling in his music make it not always the most marketable. Though, while watching his videos this may seem counterintuitive due to the large focus on female talent and “high life” references. Even his lyrics have many elements of material and sexual desire.
The big difference that sets him apart from the mainstream is how he approaches his aesthetic, lyrics, and music. The aesthetic is heavy on female modeling but approaches it from the perspective of high fashion. There is a maturity to his music videos that make them almost completely necessary to the listening experience of many of his songs. Such a bond comes from concentration on artistic influence rather than exploitation of the listeners sexual instincts. From a lyrical perspective his material, once again, seems to be similar in content to the mainstream. Though, his approach to its delivery makes use of a combination of subtlety, overtness, and “tongue and cheek” to create something which is engaging, and sometimes humorous rather than manipulative. Lastly, the music he uses is not simply a backing track but often plays a very large role the song itself with forms that are more organic than simply pumping a chorus for its entirety.
His albums make use of a wide range of styles and feels to create something that is eclectic, confident, and cool.