I can’t quite figure out why Dallas rapper Tunk opted for Rain Man artwork. Maybe he’s a connoisseur of Kid N’ Play fades or dozens of illegitimate children. Or maybe the more prosaic answer is that “The Execution” opens with the claim that he plays above the rim. Personally, I’d play up the D-Town connect and have a picture of Roy Tarpley super-imposed in front of a Scarface-sized mountain of cocaine. Maybe add in a little Rolando Blackman because it’s never a bad idea to invoke the deft three-point shot and nomenclatural superiority of Rolando Blackman. But I agree that nothing lasts forever and things can always be worse. He could’ve used the mug of Mike Iuzzolino, the worst player in the history of NBA Jams.

Closely affiliated with ADD+, Tunk’s been carrying sharp knives for a while, but this might be the closest thing to a banger that he’s dropped. He switches up flows, going from agile double-time lift-off to a bridge invoking Birdman circa “Get Your Roll On.” He’s rides hard for Dallas and the South, invoking the Hot Boys but also Red and Meth. He mentions Killer Mike and early Mike Render might be his most obvious comparison. He still has ways to go lyrically, sticking to the struggle-rap strict, so I’ll avoid over-hyping him.  There’s enough thirsty bloggers bigging up every new rapper as either the latest greatest genre-smasher or the legatee of a sacred tradition. That shit bores me. Maybe Tunk lacks superficial think-piece read weirdness, but he has good songs and can rap well.

The music works because Tunk’s carved out a lane within the dirt road of post-UGK country rap a a la K.R.I.T. and ADD+, but seems aware of all the trends that emerged post- “Big Pimping.” His records might not get people to frantically boogie, but they’re big enough to be more than just smooth rider music. It’s thoughtful but it’s not meant to be over-thought. So just jam it.


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