Music Review: Karyzmatik’s “Tribe Mentality”

Karyzmatik’s Project “Tribe Mentality” Generates Nostalgic Feelings

Artist Karyzmatik of the rap collective “Tribe,” drops the follow up from last year’s “TRVP YVYO,” which encompassed a compilation of trap-inspired songs and archaic production. However, his latest project “Tribe Mentality” deviates entirely from its predecessor, instead disbanding its trendy sound and adopting the east coast aesthetic of the mid-90s. The opening song “Winter” sets the tone for the album, as Karyzmatik lays his nocturnal and grimy vocals over the dark, mystic, and pulsating beats the album encompasses, which mirror those of Wu Tang Clan’s “36 Chambers” and GZA’s “Liquid Swords.”

Though it’s an individual project, Karyzmatik reflects on Tribe as a collective, while intertwining his own experiences that have pushed his aspirations and artistic vision. The track “Holla at Me” serves as a moment of ambition, as he raps about his musical gifts and the extent of his future success. “Yo, I’m pretty gifted/like rich children of a Chinese business/Should I work the 9-to-5/Na, I want a f***ing million.”

Throughout the project, Karyzmatik uses his clever wordplay, nostalgic beats, and mesmerizing samples to carry the album’s narrative. This narrative paints an image of the violent streets of Columbus, his collective’s rising success, and the tribe mentality. On “Count Chocula,” Karyzmatik illustrates the environment and the mentality he’s adopted, as the sounds of shootings, visions of dead bodies, and resonance of violence displays the dark imagery that surrounded him.

Karyzmatik encompasses the gritty mentality he depicts throughout the project, one that takes aim at any MC that attempts to challenge him. This mentality is considered a last component of rap, and one he’s determined to maintain, which he addresses on the unapologetically confrontational “Wraps.” Karyzmatik centers the album on this mystic tone, as the title track “Tribe Mentality” further describes the elongated message he attempts to find new ways to convey, but instead weakens its significance due to a series of repetitive tracks. The overuse of filler samples, off axis flows, and repetitive themes of drug and alcohol use become overly redundant toward the second half of the project.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable album that offers an eclectic and competitive feel that many hip-hop aficionados feel is missing in rap music. At times, however, he’s overextending these elements and the project’s concept, rather than equally blending his collective’s mentality with his own personal experiences. Though the word his name’s derived from symbolizes an open and magnetic energy, too often he’s rapping from an outsider’s perspective. The album lacks detail, and brushes over these topics without specifying direct situations he’s experienced, and what he’s doing to reach his desired level of success. Instead, he emphasizes his collective’s mentality, expressing them over a sonic wave that has already been captured by artists like Joey Bada$$, Bishop Nehru, and Troy Ave. It’s clear, Karzymatik has the potential as an MC to craft a classic album, but first, he must develop a more potent story to tell.

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