Pride is often paired with a few negative connotations as an emotion that draws power from self-obsession and greed. Yet, pride is one that has plenty of positive feelings too. It gives you strength and fuels the fire of one’s will. To stand on your own two feet and make a positive change in the world demands a bit of pride, being timid never helped anyone after all, especially when times get tough. Rising Sydney MC The Tongue is of the former disposition on his soulful new track Proud.
Sydney MC The Tongue is gearing up for the release of album number four Hard Feelings. Proud gets us off to a great start, a mature and soulful track that speaks to the restless heart.
The Tongue has been on the Aussie hip-hop scene since 2006 and has blazed his own trail since day one. His album Surrender To Victory was long listed for the Australian Music Prize, performed at the Sydney Opera House and has shared the stage with some of hip-hop’s greats like Ghostface Killah, Dizzee Rascal, Public Enemy and Pharaohe Monch. Teaming up with producers DJ Morgs and Poncho, The Tongue is on the cusp of releasing his fourth album Hard Feelings at the end of this week.
Today we get an early taste with Proud, a strong track that promises a mature and sophisticated album from the talented MC. The partnership between The Tongue, DJ Morgs and Poncho is strong, the slow jam remains an intense lyrical experience that speaks to the everyday struggles of the human heart. “I don’t ever pray / Let the chips fall where they may / I’m falling down / And I don’t ever beg / Never shed a tear for myself / You must stay proud” is the smoky vocal hook that echoes out in the first few bars.
Depression, alcoholism, disease, unemployment, it’s some pretty heavy shit the track deals with but Proud doesn’t wallow in the sadness. Lyrically The Tongue paints a visceral picture, offering scenarios of a bleak and gloomy Sydney, one that runs our protagonist through gauntlet after gauntlet. The lyrical flow is on point. Never does he slur and slump in the beat, nor does he become too aggressive in order to embody that defiant attitude. It’s earnest, and that’s what strengthens the hope that forms the backbone of Proud.
The instrumentation is pretty simple, made up of a standard beat, a curtain of synths and a very sneaky bass line. At times the beat breaks away completely leaving The Tongue in lyrical free fall and it’s in these moments you realise how powerful his words are; “Swallow my pride / Spit it from the gut / Perception is reality / Reflections in the mirror / Do you see your god or a queen or a quitter or a king“.
Proud is a slow burn, so do yourself a favour and give it more than one listen as it will strip away layer after layer. The Tongue’s fourth album Hard Feelings is out November 20. If you’re a fan of any other Elefant Traks alumni than it is a record you’ll want to get your paws on.