- Flynt Nixon
Tales Of The Town: The Album
It’s rare when multiple individual specialists come together to take aim at a singular target, but when it does happen you get things like The Dream Team, the Apollo 11 crew, The Vienna Philharmonic, and now the Tales Of The Town Compilation! Presented by the Hella Black Podcast (Oakland’s Abbas Muntaqim and Delency Parham) the album pairs together some of the best talent the Bay Area has to offer. From LaRussell, Guapdad 4000, Rexx Life Raj, to Jane Handcock, G-Eazy, Lil Bean and more - the whole roster showed up and gave all-star performances. At 11 tracks this project is concise, precise, powerful, intentional, and inspirational!
Tales Of The Town is the soundtrack of a podcast that bears the same name. The latter is a deep dive into the history of the black presence in Oakland, CA, from the Great Migration all the way up into Gentrification. Delency and Abbas use narration, clips, and special guests to give us listeners a play by play description of everything that is black Oakland. The album sticks with that theme and delivers an array of proud pro black slaps. “Off the slave ship we was inhaling them blues/ riding through the West like I’m Huey P. Newton,” Koran Streets casually flows on the song "Black Jacobins," giving you an example of the historic and hometown pride intertwined throughout the project. A lot of compilations miss the mark by randomly combining artists and producers hoping name recognition alone carries the project. Not here. This album was carefully curated, performers paired together like fine wine and Michelin star dishes.
But maybe the most important thing about the album is that all proceeds go to the Peoples Programs of Oakland, a true example of the community taking care of itself. Each artist, producer, engineer, etc donated their time and skill sets for the greater good. Every time I replayed the project it sounded even better knowing that each stream was going directly into the community. From community programs for children to food and care packages for the houseless, Tales Of The Town will go down in history as one of the most influential and important pieces of art to come out of California.
RELEASED: October 21, 2022 words by Flynt Nixon