Most Georgetown freshman spend their time worrying about the next accounting test (or econ or human bio), making merry at Leo’s and thinking of innovative ways to play drinking games in dorm rooms. I don’t know to what extent Tate Tucker does any of these things, but I’m profoundly impressed that he found the time to put together Blue Dreams, his debut mixtape that dropped Monday. It spent most of the day shooting up the charts on the download site Datpiff, and deservedly so. Replete with fun samples, hooky beats, diverse rhyme schemes and thoughtful lyrics, Blue Dreams appears to be the beginning of something special. Its not as if this tape is just “pretty good for a freshman rapper from Georgetown,” its just really good.
While this tape is certainly precocious, and Tucker’s lofty ambitions are apparent throughout, there is also an appropriate, refreshing dose of humility to it. He continues to rep his hometown of L.A., the “city where they love weed,” and gives numerous shout-outs to his new home. I think we can all appreciate the cover art of a West Georgetown favorite, the “Wave House.” I also thoroughly enjoyed the various nods to hip-hop classics like Souls of Mischief and the late Old Dirty Bastard, not only because of their timeless beats that Tate raps over but because it demonstrates a knowledge and respect for his craft that isn’t necessarily shared by every up-and-comer these days.
Even more important than where he’s coming from, however, is where Tate Tucker is going; and wherever it is, it’s going to be big. First off, it helps that he chose some great songs to flow over, my personal favorites being Fleet Foxes’ new single, Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good,” and the Radiohead classic “House of Cards.” The beats don’t come close to telling the whole story though, as Tucker flashes a full repertoire of flow, from the choppy staccato on “Swim Good,” the triplets that punctuate “Blue Dreams,” and his occasional forays into an impressive double-time. Finally, while Tucker spends plenty of time ruminating on everyone’s favorite topics of ripping shots and blowing green, he also reveals an ample social conscience. He focuses a lot of energy on the themes of corporate and political greed, inner city crime and violence, and racial iniquity, all of which are especially salient in both DC and Tucker’s native Los Angeles.
All things considered, nobody could have expected much more out of this debut: on a first listen you are hooked by the samples and the lighthearted party-friendly side of it, and upon closer examination it holds up as a genuinely thoughtful work by a talented kid. On the lead single, “Clueless,” Tate even predicted my reaction, “n***** downloaded my tape and now they fittin’ to recommend it.” Download Blue Dreams here.
– Mike Taintor, host of Transatlantic Waffles, Tuesdays 11am-12pm.