MYSTERIOUS SHIT REVIEW
By: Rocky Falleti
The Pittsburgh rap eclectic is tired of local rappers
Nobody likes a poser and neither does Tribe Eternal. The Pittsburgh rap collective’s latest project, Mysterious Shit, comes in loud with its message and isn’t holding anything back.
The project is a collaboration Tribe Eternal members Clara Kent, Bilal Abbey, and Pharaoh Lum, and longtime collaborator, NVSV
In September, the group teased the album with the release of “Local Celebrity,” a bruiser of a song calling out “fake” local rappers and half inspired by DJ Khaled’s remarks about Tyler the Creator’s newest album is “mysterious shit” after it.
It addresses the question many are faced in local music scenes, are you in this for simply the potential fame and attention that may follow… Or are you in this for the honest love of creative output?
“Local celebrity tweakin’, fishin’ for fame for the weekend you can see a real one start leachin’,” Abbey raps. “You see a real ones start acting like you were right there from the start. Me and my family built this from the heart fake as you is, you was never involved.”
Kent’s verse echoes similar frustrations, “Do you live to create or validate?”
“Local Celebrity” explores the darker side of that and the lengths people will go to remain relevant. People are quick to claim the city they lived in without doing anything to actively promote or help grow that community.
It’s more status and less of genuine love or appreciation and Tribe Eternal is tired of you pretending you are something you aren’t.
Immediately following is the booming trash talk session, “Plastic.” Sure, they’re not down with people claiming their stake in the Pittsburgh rap scene to boost their agenda, but you best believe they are the best at what they do.
“Give a fuck about ya clout n****, play ya role! N***** lost in the sauce ain’t no spice involved,” Kent raps. “How you claim you hard body, but you plastic, how you gon’ say you gon’ step, but you don’ say shit.”
And can we talk about Kent’s verses on this album for a second? Largely known for her work as an R&B vocalist, Kent spends the majority of this album rapping shining on tracks like “Clara’s Mad” and “Fool.”
Although at times she still does flex her voice ever so effortlessly on tracks like “Strawberry Moonlight”, really comes into her own as an MC on Mysterious Shit.
The project is an honest reflection of the group’s tight-knit bond they share for both each other and their art. Each artist has their moments and the four “superheroes” donning the album artwork complement each other perfectly.
Though Mysterious Shit has its fair share of honesty and as NVSV added in a recent interview with Pittsburgh Current, “music that hurts feelings,” the album offers some sound advice and encouragement as well.
Whether that be getting your mind right and ridding yourself of negativity (“Level Up”) or not hiding from your insecurities and shortcomings (“Masked”).
That overall message is boiled down to an Abbey chorus on “Masked,”
“Don’t you try and hide your soul, the mask we wear will swallow you whole, regret will creep inside you.”
And what a fitting message for us all.
Key tracks: Plastic, Masked, Strawberry Moonlight