Death Into Life
Tasman Keith sticks to the hip-hop basics: monster hooks, hard bars, infectious choruses. What makes him stand out are his stories reflecting his struggles as a young indigenous Australian. On his debut EP, he unleashes a style that recalls the slow-rolling, creased-khakis flow of Ice Cube or Kendrick Lamar, occasionally backed by G-funk synths for emphasis. He introduces the world to his family foundation on “My Pelopolees” (hometown slang for “peoples”) and his work ethic on “Mission Famous”; on “Divided,” he looks at overcoming personal and political barriers. The most affecting track on this five-song EP may be “The Rope,” which turns a tool of the oppressor into a symbol of power and success. Keith handles the metaphor with icy precision and wisdom beyond his years.