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T. Shirt

T. Shirt

T. Shirt is not just an indie-rapper with an interesting name, thank goodness.  T. Shirt is a somewhat unlikely New York MC who has built a modest following dropping LP’s independently and blogging via his crafty website illrapper.com. In late 2011, recording sessions for The Fuck album were stolen after T. Shirt’s car was broken into.  This left him with two choices: either re-record an album that was over 90% completed or release what he had without any editing capability.  T. Shirt went with the latter option and the inadvertent result is a rewarding concoction of catchy beats and raw lyricism.

In this case, it’s ok to judge this album by the cover.  The Fuck is not for the overly conservative listener.  Most of the songs are brief and pungent and T. Shirt is amusingly blunt and to the point, delivering the kind of earnest and crass lyrics that makes this concisely-orchestrated album completely diverting.  T. Shirt’s delivery is consistently gruff and forthright, but the majority of the album isn’t overly abrasive or off-putting.  The only exception would be  “Old Man Angst” which is probably the album’s most vulgar track, Shirt spitting belligerent rhymes like “F*ck you, you don’t like the curses/I curse cause I’m cursed and this life is the motherf*cking worst”–seemingly just for the hell of it.

The best part is that T.  Shirt’s candor is balanced with a smooth and partly comedic approach.  On story-driven tracks like “My B*tch Don’t Even like Me” and “I Never Knew Money” you never really know for sure if Shirt is popping off for shock value or therapeutic release.

T. Shirt always sounds at home, if not completely in control on most tracks.  He speeds up his flow on the playful “Southside Phantom” and although Shirt sounds like he’s freestyling his way through the aimless “Moonshine” it is executed effectively.  With that being said, to be such a short LP, The Fuck does seem to lack cohesiveness or direction.  Several tracks are barely 2 minutes long and some seem more like interludes than actual songs.

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Even with a couple fumbles, T. Shirt’s grit and flair carries the album all throughout leaving you entertained and refreshed.  On “Puerto Rican Rum” T. Shirt raps “F*ck a debut/I’m debuting all over this girl’s back/Never live by the standards of the world of rap/F*ck that.”  The F*ck serves as reassuring confirmation that, when done properly, a rapper can be gritty and outspoken and sound dope at the same time.

-Andrea D. Wilson


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