Review: TONEX- "The Baposto.g.i.c. Mixtape"






TON3X
"The Bapost.o.g.i.c. Mixtape"
(Nureau iNK, LLC)
Genre: R&B/Gospel/Hip-Hop
Release Date: 8/12/08
available exclusively at:
http://store.theofficialtonex.com


There's an old adage: "coal without fire will never be pure gold". The latest release from TON3X (formerly spelled Tonéx),"The Bapost.o.g.i.c. Mixtape", available exclusively on his online store, is a testament to that adage. One year after the MySpace release of "The Naked Truth" single and over 2 months since the release of the "Naked Truth Mixtape", we are able to now see where God has brought TON3X to now, and at the same time look back and see the difference (and similarities) between the 2 projects, and their 2 concepts.
The one cohesive theme in this album is unity in the body of Christ. Somewhere between "TNT" (The Naked Truth Mixtape) and "Bapost.o.g.i.c.", Tonéx became TON3X, and in the process got saved. Yes, we all know the mantra: "once saved, always saved". This was something different. TON3X rededicated his life to Christ and began a transformation of not just submitting to God, but also a shedding of the dead skin of bitterness that Tonéx held behind since "The Naked Truth". He then expounded on the concept that was previously mentioned on a track called "Twice Bomb" from T. Bizzy's solo release: "Bapost.o.g.i.c" - that is, a combination of 3 major denominations in the Church: Baptist, Apostolic, and COGIC (Church of God In Christ). TON3X simplified it as "different rooms in one mansion" and "Bapost.o.g.i.c" is a term and a musical project that aims to speak into existence unity within the Body that is increasingly and unnecessarily falling into the trap that the Enemy has set for it: "divide and conquer".
That being said, as much as this is an Urban "Gospel" mixtape, this is in the same context a mixtape for the streets. The production, the approach to previously released instrumental tracks, and, yes, even the artwork is not too far removed from the approach to the "TNT" mixtape.
And now, as usual, the play-by-play:




"Opening Devotion" (featuring E.B. Williams)
This track is a beautiful prelude to the mixtape, with TON3X's mother presiding over an instrumental landscape with beautiful background vocals, bringing the presence of the Lord into the project to show that there is a distinct difference between this project and its predecessor... or is there?
Produced by TON3X.



"The Black Maverick"
This is a great intro and vocal workout for the mixtape, showing TON3X's amazing vocal range and arranging abilities. A nice short, humorous track referring to the many things that TON3X has been referred to over the years, especially during the "Naked Truth".
Produced by TON3X .



"GosPop" (Milli Mix)
While I personally have had about enough of everyone and their mama rapping over Lil' Wayne's "A Milli" track (really, R. Kelly?), this was a welcome surprise. Rhyming over Bangladesh's surprisingly minimalistic and catchy track, which contains a sample of "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo (Vampire Mix by Fatboy Slim)" by A Tribe Called Quest , TON3X then turns the track over its head and creates an alternate version of the title track to his forthcoming project "GosPop"… which is set to be a banger. This joint is just straight fire. And listen up kids: this is the proper way to use AutoTune. More on that later.
Track produced by Bangladesh,
Vocal arrangement and co-production by TON3X .


"The Blood"
This is one of my favorites, for so many different reasons. This song discusses backbiting and gossiping and how, no matter what, we are all covered in The Blood. Nice Middle-Eastern vibe in its vocal approach and percussion elements and a hot breakdown including a humorous spoken word moment that needs to be heard to be appreciated.
Produced by TON3X .




"My Attire" (featuring Doña Vigor)
This is where it gets gully. This track here is so cleverly done, complete with a Just Blaze-produced track from a Busta Rhymes joint. The vocals on the chorus are so insanely catchy and the verses by Doña Vigor are just fire, simple and plain. These two sisters (figuratively and literally) will be turning heads in the industry. Real talk.
Produced by Just Blaze. Vocal arrangement and co-production by TON3X .


"The Funky Evidence"
This is one of those tracks that makes me wanna get back in the lab and back to the drawing board. Producer ENXO (of Nureau Ink/KMG) created a track that is so intense and unexpected that it's hard to believe that he's only 18. It starts off with a hot vocal chant sampled from BT Express ("Give Up The Funk") and a vocal layering of another forthcoming TON3X track "Gotta Love Me". It then crashes into a hot hip-hop track with TON3X rhyming about finding a new high: shekhinah, the divine presence and Glory of God, as written in the Bible, starting in the Book of Exodus. It also contains an amazingly well placed Richie Havens sample from the song "High Flying Bird". Somehow I think it's no coincidence that this experience is metaphorically referred to in this song in terms of "hot-boxing" and "puff puff pass". But then again, church folk don't know what that means, right? Wink, wink…
Just another way to point out that as much as TON3X is unconventional in his methods, the point of this album (and his entire ministry, for that matter) is to bring the unsaved to Christ. Definitely a standout on the mixtape.
Produced by ENXO, vocal arrangement and co-production by TON3X .


"A Year Ago 1967"

This is such a great track. It's funny and fun at the same time. With its Motown influence and reference, and its vocal delivery akin to The Supremes, this song speaks about how long it's actually been since "The Naked Truth" song was released, and how people are just getting around to listening to it and responding, and even how ridiculous and humorous some of the comments were in response to the song. I love this track also because it's light-heartedly approached and can speak to so many people about moving on with your life and not letting your past get in the way of your destiny. Great vocal arrangement, with a totally left-field 80's TV show reference that made me smile. I won't spoil it for you.
Produced by TON3X .


"My Father's House 1962"

Another blast from the past in its approach, this track is so beautifully done. It's an obvious metaphor for the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but it's also such a beautiful metaphor for TON3X 's testimony over the past year. It is beautifully arranged and sung, and its genius use of its embedded sample (which I was specifically told not to disclose since TON3X wants people to dig it out for themselves) shows just how innovative he is. Another one of the stellar standouts of the mixtape, hands down.
Produced by TON3X .



"Hurting Each Other" (featuring Karen Carpenter)
This track is an introduction to the concept of "Bapost.o.g.i.c", unity within the Kingdom. With an unbelievable vocal arrangement building on a sample of The Carpenters' original "Hurting Each Other", this song jumps back and forth between a slow ballad, and then moves up to a mid-tempo ballad matching the tempo of the sample, and back down again to slow ballad utilizing other chopped samples from the Carpenters track. Great song all the way around, with an even greater message.
Produced by TON3X .


"Make U Happy" (featuring David Cassidy)

Utilizing a sample of David Cassidy's "I Just Wanna Make You Happy", this song details TON3X 's rededication to Christ after the events of the past year. It sounds almost like a "stream of consciousness" track, almost like a freestyle sung over the track. I'm not entirely sure. It's beautiful nonetheless. The great use of the vocal recording effect that Prince used for many tracks, most notably "U Got The Look" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and further back by Sly Stone on "If You Want Me To Stay", is used amazingly during the background vocals so that it almost sounds like it's part of the sample. For the real heads, the effect was also used on the "One Good Reason (92105 Myx)" on the "Pronounced Toe-Nay" project. Powerful track beautifully executed. Definite standout.
Produced by TON3X .


"Hup! (featuring Omega)"
Another amazing track, this time utilizing samples of Shirley Ceasar, this song is a hot dance track that calls to mind possibly what Michael Jackson would sound like doing Gospel music. The song talks about tarrying for the Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Acts 1. This one is a great up-tempo track with a great vocal delivery and backup vocals, and a hot verse from Nureau Ink delegate Omega – an amazing rapper (check the "T.R.O.N." album and see what I mean – "Keep Livin' For Jesus" is bananas).
Produced by TON3X .




"Bapost.o.g.i.c"
With a powerful word from God through the voice of Bishop G.E. Patterson's "There's Power In The Blood" sermon, this thunders into a futuristic track that further expounds on the concept of "Bapost.o.g.i.c" and fully explains it. Building on a line from the previously mentioned song "Twice Bomb" on T. Bizzy's solo album, this song is a hip-hop track with T using the AutoTune effect again, this time using the effect as part of the backup vocals. It ends with a nice snippet from Bishop Iona Locke's powerful sermon, "Samuel is Growing." A truly amazing track that needs to be heard to be fully understood and appreciated.
Produced by TON3X.





"Jesus Saves"
The next 2 tracks are straight for the streets and are among my personal favorites. Based off of tracks originally produced by the late, great Hip-Hop producer J. Dilla (the original Jay Dee), this track specifically showcases how innovative TON3X is as an arranger and writer. The chord structure is all over the map, since it is based off of different chopped up Rhodes samples, and it's amazing how TON3X followed the pattern (what key was that actually in?). This particular track is based off the instrumental from "Fantastic" by Detroit Hip-Hop group Slum Village, off their underground classic "Fantastic Volume One". Written just after TON3X 's re-dedication to Christ, it has an amazing vocal arrangement that is sung in a jazz scat form. Truly amazing in its execution, it is another standout.
Produced by Jay Dilla with additional production
and vocal arrangement by TON3X .





"Patient"
Another Jay Dee based track, this instrumental is from the track "On The 1", from Dilla's underground instrumental album "Vintage". Sung in a high falsetto with a beautiful lush background vocal arrangement complete with minimalistic AutoTune and/or Vocoder effects, this song's about how people should be patient with one another because "God is not through with me yet". Beautifully done.
Produced by Jay Dee with additional production
and vocal arrangement by TON3X .




"Virtuous"
This track's so smooth, utilizing an undetermined sample from the 70's group WAR, this song is a nice, breezy ode to the Proverbs 31 woman and TON3X 's search for one. It's a great 70's styled song about waiting patiently for God to bring you the woman He intends for you. I love this one.
Produced by TON3X .




"Marvelous"
Produced by the aforementioned Nureau Ink delegate Omega, this an amazing ethereal piece based on the traditional Gospel choir piece, "Marvelous Things". You can actually feel the presence of God in the booth while he recorded this. A great vocal arrangement and amazing vocal range on this one. This one is definitely another standout.
Produced by Omega with vocal arrangement and additional production by TON3X .






"Adoration 2036"
This piece absolutely astounds me. The production was done by Shomari "ShoNuff" Wilson , and this cat did his thing! This goes to show how so-called "secular" producers and so-called "Gospel" artists are absolutely capable and unknowingly divinely inspired to create music that will not only minister to non-believers, but also can prophecy and bring the Spirit of God upon those who are believers. I was absolutely in awe of this track the first time I heard it and it still brings me to tears each and every time I hear it. If for any reason, this should be the one song that you buy this mixtape for. Real talk. And that's saying a lot, because it seems as though the mixtape was sequenced intentionally to build up to this particular song. This song is what Praise and Worship will sound like in the future and is an absolute testament to the power of God working through TON3X and Sho to create such a beautiful work. It's also a glimpse into further projects from TON3X , one of which is rumored to be the full album release "Adoration: 2036". The absolute standout (in my humble opinion) out of the entire mixtape.
Produced by Shomari "ShoNuff" Wilson,

with vocal arrangement and additional production by TON3X .






"That's When (R&B Remyx)"

Based off of the instrumental of Trey Songz's "The Last Time", this track produced by the amazingly talented Bryan Michael Cox is breathed new life with a reworked version of "That's When", from Tonéx's 2002 release, "02". When I heard this being played back while watching TON3X fiddling around in the studio, I was amazed at how well it melded together. The AutoTune brought to the forefront, this, kids, is how it should REALLY be implemented on a track. TON3X gives the song a full vocal workout, and just when you think it's over, he throws you for a loop by singing a few lines from Diana Ross' classic, "Theme From Mahogany". Yes. Really.
This one is another of many standouts.
Produced by Bryan Michael Cox, with vocal arrangement and additional production by TON3X .





"Bless Me"
A nice new-wave homage to the 1980's, David Bowie, Talking Heads, and the like. This track has TON3X singing about how impatient he is and stubborn he is and will not move from his prostrate position until he is blessed by God and hears His voice. A great track to bob your head to with a nice vocal arrangement.
Produced by TON3X .





"Enough"

For the final track on the mixtape, TON3X channels his inner rock star. An amazingly sung and produced rock version of the classic Gospel song, "That's Enough" (more secularly known as performed by Johnny Cash and written by Dorothy Love Coates). Singing in his higher register, he showcases his new higher range (I don't think I heard any true falsetto on this one and the notes were way up there) and his new attitude toward the Love of Christ and how no matter what people say, he's "got Jesus and that's enough" Stellar production and vocal. Yet another standout.
Produced by TON3X .


All in all, this mixtape surpasses "The Naked Truth Mixtape". Not to say that "TNT" was necessarily any less entertaining and anointed in its own right, but this mixtape is almost like a sequel and a companion piece to it. This will not only bless the believers, but will undeniably minister to the non-believers, as well as those who were once close to God and looking for a way back to His arms. This project is the testimony of a man who, just as the Prodigal Son, crawled back into the presence of his Father, bruised and battered by the world and even those who claimed Christ, and was made whole in the process.
Get this mixtape if not for yourself, for someone else who most definitely may need to hear the message in the music.

Peace,
J'Fuzion


"The BAPOST.O.G.I.C. Mixtape" is available now exclusively through TON3X's official online store, http://store.theofficialtonex.com
For more info on TON3X, please visit his official MySpace page:
myspace.com/theofficialtonex

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