The allure of recording under a Grammy-winning producer like 9th Wonder on his Jamla Records label is obvious enough; former Jamla emcee Thee Tom Hardy knows this better than most anyone. His three-year relationship with 9th included the release of two expertly assembled mixtapes, Curse of Thee Green Faceded and Secret of Thee Green Magic. It fell off course, though, after Hardy supposedly felt rushed in releasing his debut album, Doubting Thomas. That, along with perceived limits on his artistic freedom while with Jamla, ultimately led to his decision to split from the roster.
So, here on Guerrilla Broadcast, Hardy’s first post-Jamla release, we get ungoverned, redemptive requitals that address his personal and professional anxieties. It’s not all worrywart speed, thoughthere’s spotless preening on “Tom’s Comet,” flavor overload on “Something So Cold” and emotional pull during the confessional, one-man act “Master Cleanse.” A few junkyard skits and freestyles (“Hellaw,” “The Pocket,” “Quik Tribute”) give this party a pirate-radio vibe, but they only succeed at sinking Hardy’s overcrowded ship, weighed down as it is by inexperienced seamen (Cortez Hero, Chaddy Boy) and bloated humor. On Jamla, a label lacking robust lyricists, Hardy’s playtime lines offered a quirky boost suited for the old crew’s soul sample and boom-bap. But now, since he’s broadcasting remotely, guerrilla-style, Hardy will have to prove he’s not just another decent rapper. Here, he doesn’t.