Approaching the halfway point of 2015, one local hip-hop release has taken up an unexpected slot in my rotation: Ty Money’s Cinco De Money. I say “unexpected” because I initially balked when the rapper dropped this mixtape on May 5. The title and its corresponding release date initially struck me as cheesy, and it took a couple weeks to get past my knee-jerk reaction and give it a full listen. Somewhere down the line I found myself cycling back to Cinco De Money on a daily basis.
Ty’s a pragmatic rapper. He speeds through dense verses with focus and precision, accentuating the particular shapes of each word without much flash. Part of what makes Ty’s performances on Cinco De Money so strong is his ability to display his skills without drawing too much attention to what he’s doing. On his version of Lil Herb‘s “Just Bars” Ty pivots in and out of several flows, and he shifts from one to the other so smoothly it’s easy to miss the points where he adjusts his pace.
In concert Ty is even more businesslike. When I saw him open for Geto Boys at Thalia Hall last week—the first on a bill of four—Ty came out with no fanfare and jumped into his three-song set. Like so many MCs of late Ty was rapping over songs that still had his recorded vocals intact. Unlike so many other MCs I’ve seen—who struggle to shout over the sound of their own voice, only to wind up screaming in exhausted fits—Ty overpowered his studio recordings, blazing through his lines with an assured determination.
Ty’s a fierce performer, which reflects the intensity of his lyrics. He spins tales of doom and gloom that convey a sense of life beyond, say, collecting money and gun violence. On somber closer “Over and Over” Ty fondly raps about his infant daughter, and though the line “she run through Pampers like over and over” threw me off at first, I’ve since come to see it as a sign of how much every detail of his child’s life rests on his mind. Needless to say I’ve been listening to this track and Cinco De Money, well, over and over.